While hospital financial performance is starting to recover after experiencing historic lows at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, providers still face a bumpy road ahead, according to experts at Kaufman Hall. Comparing July 2020 to June 2020, hospital operating margins increased 24 percent. Operating EBITDA margins also increased by 12 percent month-over-month and were 9 percent above budget without the financial aid despite falling by 5 percent year-over-year, the firm reported.
According to an RevCycleIntelligence article, while emergency department volumes were hit the hardest in July 2020, surgery volumes improved as hospitals resumed elective and non-urgent procedures. That said, hospital volumes are still significantly down year-over-year despite improvements compared to last month.
Similarly, outpatient visit volumes are starting to recover, according to a report by researchers at Harvard University, the Commonwealth Fund, and the healthcare technology company Phreesia. During the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, outpatient volumes of analyzed providers declined by nearly 60 percent by early April. However, the number of visits started to rebound in mid-June, and by the end of July, weekly visits plateaued at 10 percent below the pre-pandemic baseline, which was defined as the week of March 1st through 7th. Operating at about 90 percent of pre-pandemic outpatient volumes is a significant improvement for providers struggling to make up for revenue lost at the start of the pandemic.
Last month, an analysis prepared by Kaufman Hall for the American Hospital Association (AHA) projected half of all US hospitals to operate in the red through the second half of 2020.
That underscores the need for health systems to think smarter and act quickly in considering the outsourcing of services such as medical coding and audits. Not only does it provide health systems better cost controls to pay only for the medical coding work done, but also it delivers external expertise that providers are getting the full reimbursements deserved.
Aviacode's 700+ certified inpatient, outpatient, and HCC medical coders are capable and knowledgeable on the latest in medical coding, including COVID-19 coding, and providing necessary clinical documentation recommendations. In addition, Aviacode offers experienced experts to help health systems on coding audits to ensure compliance to CMS and other federal guidelines.