Browse by Topic
Learn more about the healthcare finance industry's leading professional association. Find out why our members rely on HFMA as their go-to source for insight and information.
Members have many options for helping them advance their careers. Conferences, seminars, eLearning, certification, and more -- our education and events will keep you motivated.
Strategize for success with the nation's top performers at HFMA's Revenue Cycle Conference (MAP Event) from Sept. 25-27 in Phoenix, Arizona. Register now.
Learn about timely healthcare industry topics and earn CPEs with HFMA live and on-demand webinars. View the latest schedule.
Stay up-to-date in a rapidly changing industry in Fort Lauderdale (Nov.16-18) and Chicago (Dec. 12-14). Register early and save.
Our newsletters offer targeted articles with
technical how-to details and thought-provoking insights from healthcare finance
leaders and industry experts.
The Helen Yerger/L. Vann Seawell Best Article
Award recognizes articles for outstanding editorial achievement in hfm
Information about leading vendors helps your buying decisions.
Forum members can network during live webinars or access a library of past webinars on topics such as ICD-10 implementation, CMS audits, bundled payment, charity care, KPIs, and more.
An ever-expanding collection of spreadsheets, policies, job descriptions, checklists, and more that you can adopt and adapt.
Forum members can submit vexing questions to a panel of experts using our Ask the Expert service.
Your source for employment solutions.
Find new employment opportunities or
reach out to qualified candidates.
Distinguish yourself as a leader among your peers and advance your career by earning certification in our healthcare finance programs.
Get an objective third-party evaluation of products and services used in the healthcare finance workplace.
MAP App is a web-based application that helps organizations improve revenue cycle performance based on industry-standard metrics called MAP Keys.
Find suppliers and products in this comprehensive vendor directory for healthcare finance professionals.
Guidance for understanding and communicating about the price of health care.
Transformation toward value-based healthcare is reshaping the delivery of care, patient expectations, and payment structures.
Improve your revenue cycle performance through standard metrics, peer comparison, and successful practices.
Independent hospitals today face myriad financial, regulatory, and strategic challenges. Amid concerns ranging from continued uncertainty around healthcare reform to severe financial challenges caused by steadily declining Medicare payments, hospital leaders and boards are asking themselves how they can maintain the competitiveness and, ultimately, the independence of their organizations.
Whether hospitals can—or even should—remain independent is no longer just a hypothetical question. With the number of hospital deals rising from 52 in 2009 to 90 in 2011 (Source: Irving Levin Associates, The 2011 Health Care Service Acquisition Report, 17th edition), the consolidation trend in health care is gaining momentum as larger health systems further strengthen their capital and market positions. This trend leaves independent hospitals with the challenge of balancing the desire to remain independent with the ability to deliver on their mission.
Today’s leaders of independent hospitals are asking key questions:
To accurately and effectively assess their current competitive situation and future options, hospital leaders should address these questions as candidly and comprehensively as possible. The following five guiding principles can help hospitals leaders evaluate their market positioning and better balance their stakeholder needs with the pressures of today’s healthcare industry.
Start from a point of objectivity. Given the complexity of the questions that now confront hospitals, it is critically important to develop and work with a baseline of objective facts. In light of healthcare reform and other factors, hospitals need to understand current performance, as well as project future performance, under a range of scenarios. We have found that six factors correlate with sustained independence and, thus, should be carefully analyzed as part of this objective fact-finding process:
Hard facts help to separate vital strategic discussions from emotionally driven assumptions and suppositions and ensure that decisions ultimately reflect your true local situation.
Take a holistic market view. Your ability to sustain independence is directly affected by the characteristics and actions of others in your market—including physicians, competing health systems, payers, and employers. It is important to develop a holistic perspective on each of these key players and to attempt to predict the range of future strategies they might pursue and associated implications for your organization.
Have an honest conversation with your hospital’s key stakeholders. These stakeholders include your board, your management, physician leaders, and other key players. Armed with a fact-based analysis of your competitive situation, you can weigh the pros and cons of the possible independence scenarios and whether remaining independent is even in the best interests of your hospital’s community. This open, candid approach not only engenders good decision making, but also promotes buy-in among key stakeholders.
Don’t overly focus on size. The size of your hospital is not always a reliable proxy for your ability to sustain independence. In fact, there are examples across the country of smaller hospitals out-performing larger health system competitors in their core markets. Size alone will not improve performance, unless it drives tangible improvements in cash position, operating efficiency, market position, physician relations, and leadership.
Revisit the key questions regularly. Accurately assessing your hospital’s competitive situation and viability to stay independent is not just a one-time undertaking. The “micro” and “macro” factors affecting your hospital are constantly shifting, requiring a continuous recalibration of your fact-based assumptions and strategic planning. Because of the high velocity of change in today’s healthcare industry, decisions that may have only recently seemed crystal clear can suddenly require a totally different calculus.
Guided by these principles, hospital executives can conduct a meaningful, assessment of their institutions’ competitive posture and make well-informed decisions regarding their future options. In the year ahead and beyond, independent hospitals will continue to face considerable headwinds in this historically challenging economic and regulatory healthcare environment. Against this backdrop, hospital leaders will need to grapple with difficult choices about how to stay competitive and how to remain independent, if independence is indeed their best course. By using objective, fact-based data and inviting key stakeholders to participate in the discussion, independent hospitals can make the right decisions for their futures.
Connie Cibrone is senior director, Client Service, Objective Health, Waltham, Mass.
James Stanford is director, Client Service, Objective Health, Waltham, Mass.
Publication Date: Wednesday, October 09, 2013
In this Business Profile, Bruce Haupt, president and CEO of ClearBalance, discusses how a patient loan program can increase patient collections, reduce bad debt, and speed cash flow.
In this Business Profile, Jerry Bruno, principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, discusses the importance of choosing revenue cycle solutions that help an organization meet the challenges of a quickly evolving healthcare environment.
In this business profile, Lane Jackson, a partner in the Grant Thornton LLP Health Care Advisory Services practice, with extensive experience in overseeing system implementations and revenue cycle reorganizations, discusses best practices for elevating revenue cycle performance during an EMR implementation. Grant Thornton LLP is a sponsor of the Large System Controllers Council Affinity Group.
In this business profile, Amy Gross, senior vice president of Key Government Finance, discusses the benefits of private placement transactions to support large-scale financing projects.
In this business profile, Doug Polasky, executive vice president at Xtend Healthcare, explains the importance of having sound workflow processes in a consolidated business office to ensure optimal performance and reduce costs.
In this business profile, sponsored by SSI, Jay Colfer, vice president of sales and marketing, shares how patient access solutions are reversing the trend toward increased bad debt resulting from the rise in high-deductible consumer health plans.
In this business profile of Deloitte Consulting, Matthew Hitch and David Betts explore the potential benefits of elevating the customer experience and outline strategies to change service delivery.
TriMedx helps health systems control costs and uncover savings opportunities by optimizing the clinical engineering function.
Copyright 2016, Healthcare Financial Management Association.
Join HFMA today and enjoy: