Browse by Topic
More than 40,000 members value HFMA's thought leadership and practical strategies. HFMA is where you need to be.
Get acquainted with the
healthcare finance industry's leading professional association. Find out why our
members rely on HFMA as their go-to source for insight and
Members have many
options for helping them advance their careers. Conferences, seminars,
eLearning, certification, and more -- our education and events will keep you
Connect the dots on today's big issues, explore collaborations, get career-boosting tips, and network with colleagues nationwide at the leading finance conference. Save $100 off the full conference rate when you register by May 8.
Real-time presentations with nationally recognized experts, networking opportunities, and industry solutions—no travel required!
Get the latest, practical education in key areas of healthcare finance over 1, 2, or 3 days. Choose Essentials Programs or Master Sessions in DC or Seattle. Register early and save $100.
If you're a subscriber to any of our three newsletters, you have access to online education. Learn more or subscribe.
Get the perspectives of leading healthcare finance professionals on today's hottest issues.
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 bundled payment, charity care, and ICD-10.
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.
Guidelines on how to make it easier for consumers to get information about healthcare prices.
Improve your revenue cycle performance through standard metrics, peer comparison, and successful practices.
Recent turbulence across all fixed-income markets, including tax-exempt bonds, serves as a powerful reminder of the need for hospitals and health systems to consider the implications of a shift in outlook by the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) introduced the prospect of a change in its outlook on June 19 noting a diminishment in downside risks to the economic outlook and labor market. Although the Fed’s announcement was not accompanied by any policy or interest rate changes, it caused a wide ripple effect that drove some interest rates up at levels not seen in several years. Market reaction to the news was swift. Yields in both the Treasury and swaps markets spiked almost instantaneously as the market sought to get in front of expectations of decreasing federal support.
The steep increases came at a time when the market already was in transition. Intermediate- and long-term Treasury and swap rates had been on the rise for several weeks and have continued to fluctuate as the market tries to anticipate a tapering of Quantitative Easing (QE). The Fed has indicated that it will begin scaling back its $85 billion-per-month purchases of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities later this year, and make its final QE purchases in mid-2014, assuming that unemployment falls to 7 percent.
According to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke during the June 19 press conference, “Our policies are tied to how the outlook evolves, and that should provide some comfort to markets because they will understand, I hope, that we will be providing whatever support is necessary.” The Fed also reiterated it won’t be increasing its short-term rates soon, and that an initial hike in those rates isn’t likely before 2015, when unemployment is forecasted to hit 6.5 percent.
In the weeks following June 19, Chairman Bernanke has been emphasizing the Fed’s continued commitment to all of the policies it has used to manufacture a low interest rate environment. Even so, these recent events may serve as a harbinger of the volatility that is likely to accompany a return to a “normal” Federal Reserve market presence. Consequently, hospitals and health systems should persist in monitoring the market. Those with variable-rate exposure in their debt portfolios likely will continue to see low floating rate costs for the foreseeable future, but those systems pursuing fixed-rate refinancings should be flexible and evaluate multiple financing products to ensure the best option. Organizations needing to borrow new money likely will see favorable variable rate pricing, albeit at slightly higher risk than traditional fixed-rate borrowing.
In evaluating derivative portfolios, hospitals and health systems bearing a lot of fixed payer swaps may actually benefit from a rising rate environment as the value of their portfolios improve. Organizations should continue to monitor their portfolios for opportunities to regain ownership of pledged collateral and—eventually—opportunities to terminate unwanted swap contracts. They also should monitor the market for opportunities either to decrease derivatives risk or to evaluate alternative structures that more closely align with the underlying portfolio.
Although low interest rates and market fluctuations continue to offer some attractive options for organizations seeking to strengthen their portfolios, remaining vigilant is essential. No one knows how long the era of record-low rates will continue, but June 19 reminds us that the end will come and that it could be fairly messy. To both maximize current opportunities and minimize future risks, organizations must closely monitor the evolving market and understand what capital structure levers they have at their disposal.
Josh Neaman is a vice president in the financial advisory practice of Kaufman, Hall & Associates, Inc., Skokie, Ill.
Publication Date: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Brian Kueppers, founder and CEO, Apex, discusses the importance of a robust patient payment strategy in boosting organization revenue and enhancing patient satisfaction.
Brian Grazzini, CFO, HealthPort, describes the importance of efficient and compliant information exchange and audit management in helping HIM staff spend less time on paperwork and more on mission-critical projects.
Cindy Matthews, executive vice president, Community Hospital Corporation, discusses how rural and community hospitals can use collaborative partnering to position for success through tough market conditions.
Rick Heise, senior vice president, revenue cycle, at Cerner Corporation, discusses the importance of integrating clinical and financial data to excel in health care’s changing payment environment.
Dale Hockel, senior vice president of operations, and Jim Fanelli, CFO, TriMedx, share strategies for elevating clinical engineering through innovative management programs.
Russ Graney, founder and CEO for Aidin, and John Laursen, head of business development for Aidin, share insights on how to improve care transitions between acute and post-acute care settings and incentivize high-quality patient outcomes.
Scott Elston, strategic accounts manager, GE Healthcare Services, describes how substantial cost reduction in health care requires rethinking business strategy and asset use.
Robert Williams, MD, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Arielle Freiberger, product strategist, ConvergeHEALTH by Deloitte, explain how sophisticated retrospective, real-time, and predictive data analytics can inform decision making to reduce costs and improve care.
Stuart Hanson, director of business development (healthcare solutions) at Citi Retail Services, discusses how improving the payment experience can benefit consumers and healthcare providers.
Scott Schmidt, vice president, Cerner RevWorks, LLC, shares insights on best practices for maximizing a revenue cycle management partnership.
©2015 Copyright Healthcare Financial Management Association
HFMA.org is best viewed using IE9 or the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
Join HFMA today and enjoy: