Declining professional service reimbursement and uncertainty over healthcare reform, among other factors, are converging to create an uncertain environment for physician practices across the country. As the ground beneath them shifts, many physician groups are seeking more stable footing through employment or alignment with hospitals and health systems. As a result, many hospitals are finding themselves stretched beyond their traditional scope in managing growing ambulatory enterprises.
Hospitals and health systems can obtain many benefits from tighter alignment with physicians, including a higher continuity of care, a stabilized referral base, and readiness for new payment models. But the costs associated with achieving such alignment can be substantial. These challenges are prompting finance leaders to look for opportunities to consolidate functions across the system, reduce costs, and improve financial performance. One of the most effective means for achieving these goals is to develop an integrated revenue cycle (IRC) that meets the needs of the hospital and physicians alike.