Waystar’s newest guide investigates the state of denials and appeals in today’s healthcare landscape and explores how today’s most successful providers are redefining the core components of their denial and appeal process to grow revenue, streamline workflows and revitalize their approach to the process.
Denial and appeal management today
Like many administrative tasks further burdened by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, denial and appeal management workflows dependent on manual processes are experiencing new strains on accuracy and productivity.
Last year a survey investigated how billing and administrative tasks were impacted by COVID-19, with 37% of surveyed providers reporting an increase in workloads due to issues with coding and requirements. An assessment of the general industry outlook found claim denial rates are at an all-time high, with 33% of surveyed hospital execs reporting concerns they are entering a “denials danger zone,” where rates grow to 10% or more.
Estimates put the cost of reworking denials as high as 20% of rev cycle expenses because on average they cost 4x as much to process than the initial claim. With so much strain already present on providers’ resources, many are turning to automation to ease the burden.
How automation elevates the process
Once a provider has been notified of a denied claim, steps are taken to identify whether or not it can be appealed. Many of the errors that cause denials come down to administrative issues that took place at the start of the claim lifecycle.
A recent analysis found 86% of the denials processed between July 2019 and June 2020 were avoidable. Analysis indicated that many of those issues stemmed from front-end errors related to benefit information, coverage detail, and shortcoming related to missing or invalid claim data.
While there’s a wide mix of problems that could cause a denial, with different providers experiencing a diversity of challenges depending on their location and patient population, they all face a common hurdle: the burden of manual denial management and appeal procedures put on administrative staff.
Like many other administrative processes, providers for the most part rely on a mix of manual and electronic procedures to handle denial and appeal management. But the industry’s continued reliance on manual procedures is beginning to have a negative effect.
How providers are transforming their approach to denial + appeal management
Studies have found that it costs about $118 in reworking fees to appeal a denied claim. These costs are exacerbated by the industry’s overall reliance on manual processes—a systemic issue many recognize yet fail to capitalize on. Indeed, while many providers see the promise automation can deliver on, they still face a number of considerations before pushing forward with implementing an automated solution.
And automation is a hot topic for providers for a very good reason—studies have demonstrated the US healthcare system could save as much as $16.3B by automating old or outdated processes. When it comes to denial and appeal management, the benefits are far-reaching, from improvements to productivity and a reduced strain on resources to huge boosts to claim accuracy and revenue recovery.
What to look for in a denial + appeal management solution
Leading-class solutions offer a wide selection of tools to provide a comprehensive approach to denial and appeal management, using customized, exception-based workflows to streamline the entire process and overturn a sizable increase in denials.
The appeal toolset a solution offers should make it easier to coordinate and use the info and data necessary to automatically process appeals and recover cash that would otherwise create productivity issues or unnecessary fees.
The solution’s ability to prioritize appeals based on cash value automatically lets staff concentrate on tasks that actually demand their attention, supporting them with additional tools like automatically generated payer-specific appeal forms and robust analytics capabilities that allow you to track and measure progress and problem areas.
Keeping disruptions at a minimum is key when considering your solution as well, so consider its ability to work efficiently with your existing systems and look for a partner that can demonstrate a strong history of seamless integrations.
Wrapping it up: why denial + appeal management solutions matters
A recent Waystar survey found 76% of providers categorized denials as their biggest RCM challenge. And the wider picture of healthcare reflects an industry struggling to solve a long-standing problem with manual processes and few answers.
Implementing an automated denial and appeal management solution is quickly becoming the optimal path forward for most providers, even if many have apprehensions about committing to the switch. But as new innovations cut down on the resources and time needed to implement the tech, the time is quickly approaching where the switch will be easier, and more vital, than ever before.
Click here to find out how Waystar can help fully automate the process and help you recover more revenue while reducing the burden on staff.
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As a medical billing expert, EZClaim can help the medical practice improve its revenues since it is a medical billing and scheduling software company. EZClaim provides a best-in-class product, with correspondingly exceptional service and support. Combined, EZClaim helps improve medical billing revenues. To learn more, visit EZClaim’s website, email them, or call them today at 877.650.0904.
[ Contribution from the marketing team at Waystar ]