Healthcare Expense Tracking Made Easy

By Jessica Larkin

With the shift to digital care delivery, the healthcare industry is rapidly modernizing systems and processes to keep up with the requirements of today’s virtual landscape. On the business side of the house, healthcare providers are updating their tech stack and services to streamline and maximize efficiencies. Expense management and tracking being at the top of the list. Further, cost optimization, spend analysis, and compliance with industry regulations are top-of-mind for healthcare finance teams.

In this post we will highlight expense management needs for healthcare, specific use cases, such as the Sunshine Act, success metrics for rolling out a new tool, and the business benefits of leveraging expense management software.

Healthcare Industry Expense Management Needs

When you think about expense management, there are many common categories that overlap from industry-to-industry, such as office supplies and business travel. However, when it comes to healthcare, there are quite a few unique expense management needs.

Continuing Education

Continuing medical education (CME) is an essential job requirement for healthcare employees. CMEs ensure that your employees are up-to-date on the latest advancements in the field, current on their skills, and competent in their ability to practice medicine. Just like any other expense, reports must be submitted to document spend related to the education credit.

As noted in The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine, “Since CME is required annually for healthcare professionals, it’s almost always considered an expense that should be covered by the employer. Therefore, it is important for urgent care owners and managers to have a policy outlining what should be reimbursed and what should not.”

Both your expense management software and your corporate policy must clearly outline the parameters for CMEs, including what is eligible and reimbursement parameters.

Licensure

Clinicians, doctors, nurses, and technicians need to be licensed by the state to be able to treat patients. In addition to continuing education, costs related to licensure are typically covered by the healthcare employer and should be built into your budget and have a designated billing category within your expense management tool.

Supplies

Very few industries allow employees to expense apparel. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires garments designed specifically to resist the absorption of bodily fluids. If your facility does not provide scrubs and your employees need to purchase work apparel on their own, it is an industry best practice to allow your staff to expense and be reimbursed for their uniforms.

Outside of clothing, healthcare professionals often need specialized instruments and specific tools, like stethoscopes. These business-related expenses are typically considered reimbursable within the healthcare industry, so be sure to budget for, and create billing categories accordingly.

Healthcare-Specific Expense Use Case: Sunshine Cares Act

As we mentioned recently, under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act (PPSA), drug and medical device suppliers must track specific expenses related to transfers of value or payments to doctors and hospitals in excess of $100. These expenses must be reported to the federal government in a specific way, and are available publicly.

An expense management tool that provides the ability for employees and finance teams to be compliant under the PPSA is a must. Be sure to check out our post on the Sunshine Cares Act for more details.

Expense Management Success Metrics to Consider

When it comes to deciding on an expense management solution, there are several factors you should absolutely consider. These include speed of implementation, return on investment, user experience, and adoption.

Implementation speed

In the expense management tool vetting process, it’s important to ask how long it will take to get your team up-and-running. Implementation encompasses the transfer of data from your previous expense management tool (or method), the creation of billing categories, accounts, and employee profiles.

If you’re implementing a modern expense management software like TravelBank, you can also wrap policies directly into the tool. This will enhance compliance as employees will be prompted to update notes, align to billing categories, and attach photos of receipts before their reports can be submitted for reimbursement.

Return on investment

Did you know that when processed manually, expense reports can cost over $26 per report? On a broader scale, that means if you have 100 employees submitting an average of 1.5 expense reports each month, your company would have an annual spend of $47,934 just on processing. That is insane!

Modern expense management will cut your cost per report considerably by increasing efficiencies, streamlining processes, and ultimately saving your company money. The ROI of a modern expense management tool doesn’t stop at savings, you will also have fewer mistakes and reconciliation errors, faster reimbursements, enhanced compliance, and better visibility for forecasting. Peace of mind and cost savings—talk about a win/win scenario.

User experience

A modern expense management tool will help employees track business expenses more easily and accurately, and simplify the approval and reconciliation experience for faster reimbursements and processing. In addition to having the ability to capture expenses on-the-go by snapping a photo and filing, the ability to categorize the expenditure accurately is an important factor in the user experience. It also needs to align with the categories in the general ledger for your organization to streamline reconciliations. Remember, the user experience is important for both your staff and for your finance team and will help ensure data quality and ease of use.

Adoption

A stellar user experience and adoption go hand-in-hand when it comes to expense management policy compliance and adoption. However, UX isn’t the only factor. How your new expense software is introduced to the organization, team enablement, and fostering a culture of compliance is equally as important.

As we’ve mentioned previously, travel policies aren’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. Your corporate travel policy should also be designed to fit your overall expense policy and the culture of your company, while also keeping business goals in mind.

Benefits of Expense Management Software for Healthcare

There has been a paradigm shift in both how patients are treated and the business of healthcare. No longer are in-person visits the only means of care. Similarly, many business processes, such as expense report creation, filing, and reconciliation, are now handled with technology that automates workflows, improves efficiencies, and provides an enhanced user experience.

At TravelBank, we understand that cost control, pricing transparency, and visibility into spend are critical to healthcare. Our expense management software can help healthcare finance teams work smarter. In addition to offering a user friendly experience for your staff, expense management software offers reduced processing costs and wasted time, less mistakes and reconciliation errors, more efficient workflows and faster reimbursements, enhanced compliance and better visibility for forecasting. In addition to a modern expense management tool, we also offer managed travel and can support your teams if and when they hit the road.

We’d love to spend some time with you to learn about your expense management needs and how our system can help. Ready to get started? Let’s get some time on the books. Schedule here.

In the meantime, please check out our guide, How to Evaluate Expense Management Software.

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