You’ve probably heard the saying, “not all heroes wear capes.” Well, today’s heroes wear scrubs and we appreciate the healthcare heroes who are on the front lines fighting the pandemic. We also thank the other health system staff who are doing their part to stop the virus. Take revenue cycle management (RCM) teams, for example. Many RCM teams are working from home to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and to protect their employees. Still, these remote RCM teams have a vital role to play. Given the economic impact of this pandemic, offering compassionate financial care to patients is more important than ever.

This blog will examine three ways you can empower your remote RCM team to navigate COVID-19. If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, register for our free, 30-minute webinar on Wednesday, April 8th at 1 p.m. ET.

Tips for Remote RCM Teams Dealing with COVID-19

1. Get creative about engaging and managing employees remotely.

To keep remote RCM teams engaged, motivated and productive, employees should have daily check-ins with their supervisor. It’s important that these check-ins happen on a regular, recurring basis. This ensures employees have a chance to consult with a supervisor about challenges they’re facing, ask questions and share concerns. While phone calls will suffice for these meetings, it may be worth incorporating other types of communication technology. Video conferencing with tools like Zoom or Skype can foster more effective, collaborative meetings and help remote employees feel less isolated. 

Also, while remote RCM employees are removed from the clinical teams working within the health system, everyone should be updated on how the pandemic is impacting operations. This can help remote RCM employees empathize with patients and offer a more compassionate financial experience. 

Another way to motivate remote RCM teams is through some friendly competition. This can also help supervisors manage their team’s performance. Here are some ideas – challenge your team to see who can resolve the most patient inquiries in one day, or see who can collect the most patient payments. You can even track committed dollars on payment plans. Winning teams or employees can then share best practices with others. To raise the stakes, we’ve seen some clients use Patientco’s Virtual Leaderboard to reward their highest performers with an extra hour at lunch or an extra vacation day. Even a small incentive can encourage your team and boost morale. 

2. Adjust the payment options that are available to patients.

Lots of patients have been impacted financially by COVID-19, so they may need more flexible options to pay their medical bills. Work with your remote RCM team to gauge how many patient calls or messages include requests for payment plans or financing. They may reveal that more patients with lower bill balances are requesting affordable payment options, which means you might want to adjust your organization’s financial policies. If they see an uptick in these requests, consider expanding the parameters around payment plans and financing. 

For instance, if your current policy only allows patients with bill balances over $400 to enroll in a payment plan, adjust your policy so patients with bill balances over $250 can sign up. This will give more patients a way to pay, when otherwise their medical bill would be unaffordable.

3. Keep security a top priority for remote RCM teams.

Leadership must establish proper security and privacy policies, and keep them updated and communicate those policies to the broader organization. This includes policies that outline minimum control requirements for devices used by remote RCM employees. For example, make sure laptops are hardened with controls like endpoint encryption, anti-malware and uses a virtual private network (VPN). Also, for back-office employees who are working remotely and processing payments, ensure their EMV devices come with point-to-point encryption. Taking these steps will keep your organization’s data secure. 

Lastly, communicate expectations with your remote RCM team. Advise them not to share their laptop with their family or children. Employees’ laptops should remain locked when they’re not in use. This will help protect sensitive PHI. Protecting PHI also means that some employees can only tackle certain tasks at specific times. For example, if an employee needs to call patients about their account, they should only do so when their family members aren’t around. 

For more insights on helping remote RCM teams during COVID-19, watch our webinar about empowering remote RCM teams to navigate COVID-19.