How is COVID-19 Affecting the Role of Accounting in Healthcare Industries?

How is COVID-19 Affecting the Role of Accounting in Healthcare Industries?

COVID-19 or coronavirus has wreaked havoc all over the world. It’s put extreme fear into people everywhere. It knows no boundaries and doesn’t discriminate. It’s also put a strain on accounting in healthcare.

Sure, it’s more harmful to the elderly, but they’re not the only ones the virus has affected and infected. Industries have shut down and some states that have canceled the remainder of the school year.

Sports teams are in limbo and one would guess that in the United States, we won’t get back to normalcy probably until the fall.

The coronavirus has ravaged hospitals and healthcare workers. It’s left them with shortages of equipment and safety measures. Keep reading to learn more about the effects of COVID-19.

What Is It?

The coronavirus is actually a common virus that most people get some form of when they’re young kids. It infects your sinuses, nose, and upper throat. It spreads similarly to a typical cold. 

Most coronaviruses aren’t that dangerous. However, the MERS or SARS-like one is extremely dangerous and can be deadly. The one we are dealing with now is a SARS-related coronavirus, according to health officials.

Coronaviruses were first identified in the 1960s. They get their name because they have a crown-like shape.

This particular coronavirus is novel. It’s never been seen before.

Where Did It Come From?

Researchers and healthcare officials state that COVID-19 came from China. They say it was transferred from a bat, snake, or pangolin at a fish market in Wuhan.

Medical experts say it crossed over into humans from an animal host, as mentioned above. The most recent evidence is showing that it indeed crossed over from pangolins or bats.

How to Prevent It

Doctors say the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. Many provinces and even whole countries had to be shut down or “locked down.” 

Social distancing means staying six feet away from people when in public. It also means only going out of the house when it’s necessary.

Several Chinese provinces and all of Italy and the UK had some form of a lockdown. In the US, over half of the 50 states were in lockdown mode for some period of time.

The president has urged everyone to continue a “stay at home” order or policy until the end of April. 

Some industries were deemed a necessity, such as healthcare, emergency dental work, and obviously law enforcement and firefighters. This has had a major effect on the economy.

Grocery stores are practically bare when it comes to certain items. Items such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and other cleaning accessories flew off the shelves about a month ago. This is making it harder for people to protect themselves as well.

Wearing a mask in public is recommended; however, there’s a nationwide shortage of those. Washing your hands for 20 seconds with anti-bacterial soap is highly recommended by the CDC (Center For Disease Control).

Accounting in the Healthcare Industry

The economy is in limbo and many businesses have suffered greatly and even folded. Some landlords have forgiven rent payments while some banks forgave mortgage payments for up to three months.

The IRS pushed back its tax deadline a few months. Also, payments for items such as cars, insurance, or personal loans have been given at least a one month stay of pay. This all depends on the particular bank, lender, or company you’re dealing with. 

What Does It Mean for Accounting in Healthcare? 

The healthcare industry is just trying to keep their head above water at the moment. Many people can’t pay their bills or insurance premiums. Most are out of work and several live paycheck to paycheck in the United States. 

Some don’t even have insurance and are forced to cover everything. They definitely cannot do that since emergency room visit costs can be astronomical.

What this means for healthcare accounting is a lot of shuffling. They are trying to work with those inflicted with COVID-19 while making enough money to stay open.

Some are holding off late fees or other finance charges until people are allowed to go back to work or until they receive their stimulus payment from the government.

Indiana Health Department

The Indiana Health Department recorded the state’s first COVID-19 case on March 6th. The first death resulting from the virus was confirmed on March 16th.

According to the most recent tally from the Indiana State Health Department, there are 4,944 confirmed cases statewide.

There have been 139 deaths so far from the novel coronavirus in Indiana. Furthermore, 26,191 residents shave been tested for the virus. 

Marion County has seen the biggest spike in recent or new cases according to the state health department. On March 19th, the Governor of Indiana issued an executive order mandating schools close until at least May 1st. 

Indiana residents are also under a “stay at home” order until April 20th at midnight, according to the state health department.

The state department is also taking donations of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) for healthcare professionals doctors and nurses. 

The Importance of Accounting in Healthcare

Accounting, whether in healthcare or in other fields, deals with the managing of income and expenses. But revenue needs to have precedence here since, without a viable income or profit, a business will cease to exist. 

Your healthcare business should have a competent accountant or firm. If not, you could find yourself out of business in a hurry. It’s especially important during this time of COVID-19 since a lot of juggling is going be called for. 

RCM or revenue cycle management is extremely important to accounting in healthcare. Properly managing the patient revenue cycle usually needs a certain software for medical billing.

You’ll want to make sure your accountant has the proper software and tools. Claim processing can be very complicated and if you don’t have the software to deal with this, you’ll lose money. 

What Problems Can Be Prevented?

A good healthcare accountant will help prevent certain problems. First of all, your accountant needs to make sure patients and/or insurance companies pay their bills. Also, they need to make sure their coding is up to speed.

Another problem they can prevent is not having the proper communication channels as well as improper workflow. If your accountant takes steps to remedy all of this before it happens, you’ll be set up for success. 

Final Checkup

Coronavirus has affected every industry in the world one way or another. It’s also shed a light on accounting in healthcare and made companies more aware of the importance of it. 

If you don’t want to fall behind during this uncertain time, click here to hire a professional healthcare accountant today.