Transitioning revenue cycle duties to an external partner is about more than processes, technology and service level agreements. At its core, such a change involves moving people who work for your organization to the partner’s physical location. That can cause great angst amongst employees, many of whom will fear losing their jobs.
Staff will wonder how they’ll fit into the partner’s culture and whether their paths to career growth will be blocked. Lower morale is a fact of most transitions, and employee concerns should be those of management as well.
That’s where change management comes in. Provider and solution partners should anticipate and prepare for every employee concern. A good revenue cycle management (RCM) partner will create better overall compensation packages to stimulate employee optimism about the change. And don’t forget about employees who don’t move. Many middle- and upper-level revenue cycle managers will continue as health system employees and, based on their responsibilities, will need updates on the success of the venture. Constant communication with executives is crucial, and you should plan for regular reports to directors and managers whose roles are dependent on the revenue cycle.
The next steps of our Roadmap to Partnership help define what change management is required and how provider and RCM partners can ensure a smooth transition for everyone. (See previous posts in blog series: intro, steps 1– 3 and steps 4– 6.)
Step 7 – Establish and execute a governance structure.
The master services agreement (MSA) and service level agreements (SLAs) mentioned in my prior post will provide the basis for governance between the two partnering organizations. Health system leadership and the new RCM partner should jointly develop a framework to guide how priorities will be set, how decisions will be made and how the two partnering organizations will work together to ensure results are delivered as expected.
Step 8 – Develop the transition-management and change-management plan.
Any plan you create should address both employees making the move to the RCM partner as well as non-impacted employees. Change management and communication planning helps all stakeholders — internal and external — prepare for the overall change and the inevitable dip in employee performance.
Step 9 – Launch transition and transformation initiatives.
Planning is complete. Agreements are signed. Transition and change management protocols are in place. Now is the time for communication initiatives to go into full swing. Meetings should be held with transitioned employees and with employees who remain with the health system. Employee newsletters and email lists can be utilized to their fullest extent to communicate the benefits employees will gain from the partnership. Issues management and community relations professionals should proactively reach out to stakeholders. It’s all about communication, both during the transition and well beyond. This is also the time for the external partner to upgrade and optimize tools and technologies.
In our final post, I’ll share how to best measure the results, improve processes and remove obstacles facing you and your revenue cycle partner. For more information or to view the full Roadmap to Partnership white paper, click here.
Read Part 5 here.
About the Author:
Le Anne Trachok, Chief Strategy Officer
Le Anne Trachok leads enterprise strategy and innovation with a focus on understanding client needs, industry trends and new opportunities. Her team is responsible for solution design that encompasses services, technologies, content and analytics to improve financial performance and the patient experience for hospitals and health systems. Trachok also oversees and champions Optum360’s brand and culture.
With more than 20 years of experience in revenue cycle management and hospital advisory services, Trachok previously led Dignity Health’s revenue cycle function. Prior to that, she served in leadership positions at Arthur Andersen, UCLA Medical Center, and Tenet Healthcare.
Trachok holds a master’s degree from the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza School of Business and a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Washington & Jefferson College.