These short synopses of hfm articles give board members insight into relevant topics. The articles below were published in 2012.

Hospitals Face New Challenges in Funding Employee Retirement Benefits

Cost pressures are forcing healthcare employers to scale back on the benefits packages they traditionally have offered their employees. Nonetheless, many promising ideas exist for optimizing employee retirement and health programs while containing costs.

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Healthcare Reform Requires Increased Provider Focus on Value

As health reforms emerge over the next few years, hospitals, physicians, and payers will face greater pressure than ever to deliver more value for the dollar.

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Building a Top-Performing Hospital: What Board Members Should Know

Hospitals should build meaningful scale and scope as well as focus on integration, cost, quality of care, and customer service to be competitive under value-based business models.

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Independent Hospitals May Need to Assess Feasibility of Continued Independence

Increasingly challenging financial circumstances are forcing leaders of independent community hospitals to ask whether their “stand-alone” can continue to stand alone. To answer this question thoughtfully and meaningfully, these organizations need to perform detailed internal assessments of their ability to continue to meet the current and future healthcare needs of their service areas as independent organizations.

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Preparing for Value-Based Purchasing

The Medicare value-based purchasing program is an initiative described in the Affordable Care Act whose purpose is to provide a practical means to reduce costs to the nation’s healthcare system while improving quality of care. Hospitals that achieve the highest total performance scores under this program’s scoring methodology can earn incentive payments.

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Developing a Physician Compensation Plan

Hospital board members and other leaders should consider market characteristics, base salaries and incentives, and the structure of the compensation package when developing a physician compensation plan.

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Maintaining Revenue Cycle Health During IT Change

An electronic health record (EHR) implementation, particularly one that includes other system components such as patient access and patient revenue, can disrupt many areas of hospital operations. But one of the greatest financial risks may be its impact on the revenue cycle.

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Designing Long-Term Incentive Pay Plans

Long-term incentive pay plans for key leaders can help advance important strategic goals at not-for-profit hospitals and health systems. When designing executive pay plans for key leadership positions, not-for-profit hospitals today should consider much more than base salary and annual incentives.

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How Hospitals Can Engage Physicians Without Hiring Them

If employing physicians or achieving clinical integration is not financially and/or politically practical, hospitals should consider alternative strategies for aligning with physicians.

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Transparency Can Build Trust Between Hospital Leaders and Physicians

Meetings between hospital finance executives and physicians should be important, productive steps in building collaborative business models around issues, such as supply cost, utilization, productivity, and compensation.

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Making the Transition from Fee-for-Service to Population-Based Health Care

Capitation again seems on track to displace fee-for-service as the industry’s predominant payment model. Unlike in the 1990s, the casualties may be the providers that cannot adapt.

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Addressing the Problem of Medicare Readmissions

Hospitals should focus on three areas where poor performance is contributing to high numbers of Medicare readmissions: execution of the discharge plans, patient education, and coordination of postdischarge care.

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Transforming the Structure of a Health System

As the healthcare industry moves from a traditional volume-based context to a value-based model, finance executives are focusing on transformational planning that emphasizes physician alignment, care coordination, and operational efficiency.

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What Board Members Should Know About Mobile Apps in Health Care

Mobile applications and technologies are improving quality of care, patient satisfaction, safety, and convenience—and reducing costs. There are important considerations that hospital board members and leaders should keep in mind as they use medical apps and technologies to improve value in health care.

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Financing Health Care Today

Economic uncertainty, healthcare reform, and future funding for Medicare and Medicaid caused many healthcare organizations to postpone financings in 2011. Because of current near-record low interest rates, health systems may want to revisit financing-needed capital expenditures this year.

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What Board Members Should Know About RAC Extrapolation

Adventist HealthCare saved more than $8 million through a comprehensive approach to facilities maintenance, construction, and real estate management that could produce similar benefits for other organizations.

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Increasing Capacity and Improving Resource Utilization by Improving Patient Flow

A pilot project to redesign patient flow at Intermountain Medical Center resulted in the creation of 21 virtual beds, reduced severity-adjusted average length of stay, enhanced patient satisfaction, and improved bed turnaround time.

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The New Wave of Hospital Consolidation

As consolidation is expected to be a major strategy for not-for-profit hospitals in the next two to three years, there are several bond rating factors that health systems should keep in mind when assessing short-term and long-term financial risks.

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A Guide for Managing Costs and Refining Cost Structure

Hospitals and health systems can effectively and sustainably transform their costs by following nine strategic recommendations related to both types of initiatives.

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Cutting Costs in Financial Services

Reducing expenditures and improving financial performance is typically targeted in areas such as physician preference items, energy costs, clinical supplies, and discretionary items. But CFOs might overlook savings opportunities in their own backyard: the finance department.

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The Transition to ICD-10

Healthcare providers with a long-term view are looking beyond compliance and seeing ICD-10 adoption as a systemwide business process transformation that touches every person, process, and system throughout the organization.

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How Hospitals Can Use Technology to Reveal True Costs

Healthcare CFOs and other leaders should consider a number of factors in determining the right approach to costing within their organizations—and when selecting and implementing technologies designed to improve costing.

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Understanding the Impact of Value-Based Purchasing

A study of the potential impact of the VBP program on 3,178 hospitals of various types focused on the likely impact of the program by analyzing what hospitals’ total performance scores are likely to be under the program and how incentive payments will be calculated.

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Leading Change in a New Era

As the healthcare industry moves from a traditional volume-based context to a value-based model, finance leaders are in a position where they need to embrace new techniques that require more than traditional healthcare management.

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