A recent U.S. Census Bureau report says the U.S. will not have a racial majority by the year 2044. In 2014, a kaleidoscope of minority populations comprised 22.3 percent of the total, equating to over 71 million people. Hospitals are struggling to adapt because the country’s diversity is reflected in its patient population. This has significant implications for revenue cycle management.
Diversity is Language and Culture
Diversity is more than gender or race. A minority patient may speak English but have a cultural perspective that makes it difficult for hospital business staff to communicate. For example, a person comes from a culture in which answering personal questions about income is considered intrusive.
When a patient speaks limited English, it is nearly impossible for even experienced office personnel to communicate. The result is lost revenue because the people responsible for evaluating the patient’s resources and needs are unable to get adequate or complete information.
Revenue Generation Starts in Admitting
Often viewed as insurance billing and collections, revenue cycle management begins when the patient provides critical information, like address and contacts, to admitting staff. If hospital staff has difficulty interpreting what the patient is saying, it is likely the hospital will not get adequate or accurate information needed to help the patient cover their expenses. This leads to high rates of uncollectible accounts receivable and high rates of write-offs for charity care. Bottom line: language access and cultural competency are important factors in revenue cycle management.