How to Prioritize Financial Sustainability in Behavioral Health

Financial sustainability: 2 executives reading something from a laptop

Behavioral health and human services organizations deliver meaningful care and support to improve the lives of the patients and clientele they serve. Unfortunately, financial sustainability can be difficult to maintain with high operational costs and limited sources of funding. As such, providing high-quality care and services does not always translate to a strong financial performance for an organization. 

Fortunately, there are a number of tools that can help companies manage their budgets, reduce costs, and improve patient retention. All of these actions can help behavioral health organizations achieve better financial sustainability.

Why Behavioral Health Needs to Prioritize Financial Sustainability

Financial sustainability: financial managers having a discussion

In ContinuumCloud’s 2022 Executive Trends Report, ensuring financial sustainability was one of the top concerns expressed by behavioral health care leaders. Since behavioral health and human services organizations tend to run on tight budgets with narrow profit margins, they need to prioritize sustainable financial planning even more than other health care specialties or private sector businesses. Running an organization as efficiently as possible is essential for operating in a financially sustainable manner. 

Health insurance reimbursement rates are often lower for behavioral health organizations than for other medical specialties. Since health insurance reimbursements are one of the primary sources of income for many health care organizations, this can create a significant financial strain. This strain can be worsened by claim denials from insurers. Denied claims are a common problem for behavioral health providers, and they result in lost revenue if not appealed. 

Many behavioral health and human services organizations operate as nonprofits and rely on outside sources of funding, such as donations and grants. Completing grant applications or conducting donor outreach is a time-consuming but necessary process. However, there are ways to make it easier, such as ensuring that all of the data needed for funding applications is easily accessible.

The demand for behavioral health services is very high. Therefore, if an organization can operate efficiently and manage its finances well, it can be sustainable and serve an important purpose for its patients and community.

How to Improve Processes to Achieve Financial Sustainability

2 executives reading something from a laptop

To maintain financial sustainability, behavioral health agencies need to go the extra mile in managing their costs and identifying ways to increase their income. That’s why they need to find the right technology to improve operational efficiency while maintaining high patient care outcomes. Here are some of the ways that tools like ContinuumCloud’s human capital management platform, electronic health record (EHR) software, and patient engagement platform can help.

Dive Into the Data

Having clear data allows behavioral health and human services organizations to provide board members, donors, or other stakeholders with detailed reports to demonstrate that they are using the money well and providing valuable outcomes for the community. Many grant applications, especially those for government grants, require specific data on the number of patients served in a specified period, program completion rates, or other key metrics. 

Data is also helpful for internal decision-making. You can use patient data to make programmatic decisions, such as identifying a need for more group therapy sessions for a particular patient population. HR data can also be accessed at all times in the HCM platform to make employment or labor budgeting decisions, such as whether to hire another clinician. 

Expand Into Telehealth 

The behavioral health field has been facing increased service demand while also dealing with staffing shortages. Telehealth can help organizations meet this increased demand by expanding their potential applicant pool and eliminating space limitations. This allows you to book more appointments and increase your cash flow while meeting the needs of patients. Adding an additional revenue stream into your business plan is also a way to create more diversified and sustainable finances.

Telehealth is also a good short-term solution during unexpected public health or weather challenges that may limit in-person care. Having the right technology and an action plan in place if you need to go virtual temporarily is a good risk management practice in the current climate. ContinuumCloud’s EHR includes telehealth delivery tools to help you seamlessly integrate telehealth into your practice.

Manage Labor Costs

Labor costs can quickly get out of hand, particularly in health care fields where overtime is often necessary. It can also be challenging to decide what positions to fill when balancing increased staffing needs and strained budgets. One tool that can help with this is ContinuumCloud’s Position Control feature.

With Position Control, administrators can track their actual incurred labor costs against their projected costs to see where they may be going over budget. Position Control can also help human resources staff know where to hire. They view real-time data to get a clear, up-to-date view of the available budget and current staffing levels to understand where they have openings and whether there are funds available to hire staff to fill those open positions. 

Automate Processes to Save Time

If you don’t have the budget to hire more employees, process automation can help you reduce your current staff members’ workload so that they can focus on revenue-generating activities. Many behavioral health organizations allocate a large number of labor hours to administrative tasks without realizing that they can be automated with the right technology.

ContinuumCloud’s EHR software allows behavioral health organizations to automate scheduling, billing, and claims processing. Meanwhile, the HCM software can automate common human resources workflows, including payroll calculations and performance management activities, to cut down on administrative time. By automating these tasks, you can reallocate your current employees’ time to other tasks that require more of a human touch, like direct patient care or employee support. 

Keep Patients Engaged

Improving patient retention and reducing no-shows is one way to reduce revenue fluctuations. Many behavioral health organizations earn a large portion of their income through insurance billings and patient copays, so each no-show results in lost income. With ContinuumCloud’s digital patient engagement tools, providers can send out appointment reminders to help reduce no-shows. 

Patient engagement software can also keep program alumni engaged. This results in better long-term outcomes for your patients. These alumni are also great success stories that can help demonstrate the impact of your program to potential donors or funders. Alumni who are willing to share their stories can make great case studies for your website or speakers for fundraising events.

ContinuumCloud Provides Tools for Financial Sustainability

Investing in the right technology can help your organization optimize workflows to save time and improve your financial stability. Behavioral health and human services professionals can’t afford to overlook the need for thorough strategic planning and strong financial management.

ContinuumCloud’s HCM platform is the only human capital management solution that focuses solely on the behavioral health and human services industry. It can help organizations better harness their data, manage labor allocations, and improve decision-making. ContinuumCloud also has a patient engagement platform to keep patients engaged and deliver appointment reminders. Lastly, the ContinuumCloud EHR software provides revenue cycle management and process automation tools to help organizations save time and achieve financial sustainability.

Contact us today to learn how ContinuumCloud’s software products can help your company improve its financial viability.

Previous Resource
Patient Confidentiality: How Cloud-Based Technologies Make It Better
Patient Confidentiality: How Cloud-Based Technologies Make It Better

Learn how using the right EHR technology helps health care systems provide high-quality patient care that k...

Next Resource
Improving the Patient Journey in Behavioral Health and Human Services
Improving the Patient Journey in Behavioral Health and Human Services

Learn how creating patient journeys that utilize digital tools can create a seamless experience and improve...