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The Increasing Demand for Accountants in Healthcare

How your services can help support a new era of affordable care.

With an aging population, the need for healthcare is exploding. Healthcare continues to have a big impact on the economy, with healthcare spending accounting for 17.9 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), according to the World Bank. The Congressional Budget Office's 2013 Budget Report estimated that national healthcare spending will increase to approximately 22 percent of GDP by 2038. That growth is reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest list of the fastest-growing jobs: personal care aides and home health aides.

But careers directly responsible for patient care are not the only beneficiaries of the increasing demand for healthcare. There is also a need for accountants for hospitals, health systems, physician practices, dental practices, long-term care facilities and other healthcare providers.

Healthcare accounting does require special considerations to policies and procedures. According to the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), an accounting firm with access to protected health information when providing services to a healthcare provider is subject to HIPAA rules for breach notifications.

Top Issues for Healthcare Providers

In healthcare, there are ample opportunities for operational, compliance, clinical, financial and information technology auditing. In addition, several healthcare industry challenges require accounting support. A survey of healthcare providers by Thomson Reuters found that the top challenge was assessing the impact of the Affordable Care Act employer-shared responsibility requirements and determining the coverage, premium assistance and cost-sharing reduction subsidiaries for employees.

Another challenge for healthcare providers is complying with coding changes required to meet the October 1, 2014, deadline for the tenth revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10).

Also, healthcare fraud is increasing, providing opportunities for certified fraud examiners. Although healthcare identity fraud receives media attention, most healthcare fraud revolves around areas that accountants can help uncover. The top three healthcare provider fraud schemes are billing for services not rendered, billing for a non-covered service as a covered service and misrepresenting dates of service.

Additional Opportunities

Some additional ideas for accounting services include:

  • Valuation of medical practices
  • Claims processing or administration
  • Audit of medical billing
  • IT security and protection of patient data
  • Hospital/physician integration
  • Managed care contract reviews

For more information about opportunities in healthcare accounting or to earn your Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP) designation, contact the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) at www.hfma.org.

 


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