The End of the Public Health Emergency

The expiration date of the public health emergency is currently set for May 11, the senate recently passed a resolution that may result in an earlier end date. There is still a high level of uncertainty about the affects will be for hospitals.

What Happens Next for Hospitals?

It’s highly likely that hospitals will witness a decrease in patient volumes. The influx of patients seeking treatment for COVID-19 has offset revenue losses from other areas. Patients may now be less likely to seek care at hospitals.

CMS implemented a number of policies early in the pandemic in order to support hospitals under the public health emergency. It’s likely some of these policies may be rolled back, which could have an impact on revenue.

There will also be an increase in uninsured patients. Without auto-renewal in place, patients may fail to take steps to renew coverage, leading to an increase in both bad debt and charity care.

Mitigation Suggestions

  • Develop a plan to manage resources if patient volume drops–this may involve new training initiatives and reallocating resources to areas of higher need.
  • Review RCM processes. Ensure they are optimized for efficiency and accuracy. Now might be the time to invest in new technology and/or streamlining workflows and reducing manual processes.
  • Stay up to date on reimbursement policies and be prepared to adjust RCM processes accordingly.
  • Explore new revenue streams to offset decline in patient volume, such as expanding services or partnering with other providers to offer new services.
  • Reach out to patients at risk of losing Medicaid coverage and encourage them to take re-enrollment steps through targeted outreach campaigns.
  • Invest in eligibility/coverage verification technology and services.
  • Explore alternative funding more aggressively, such as partnering with community organizations or applying for grants
  • Advocate for Medicaid expansion in your state. AAHAM Legislative Day is coming up.
  • Refine financial assistance programs and enrollment processes

Blog Contributor: Helen Carlon, CRCR

Further Reading

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