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Finance and nursing professionals have a lot in common. They both want their organizations to be successful. They both operate in environments that are becoming increasingly complex and ambiguous. They both believe they are critical players in the race to adapt to healthcare reform and, more specifically, the Affordable Care Act.
So why do we act like we know nothing or care little about each other’s values and priorities? Why is there ever a need to discuss improvement the relationship that exists between the two disciplines? However, if we framed our work differently, we might have a better chance of creating a highly productive relationship that produces outcomes that benefit our organizations. We have the common competencies of business skills, knowledge of the healthcare environment, leadership, relationship management, and professionalism. Those competencies are critical to moving our organizations from the first curve to the second curve—from fee-for-service and volume-driven paradigms to the value-based purchasing models of the future. We are forever linked as colleagues in this payment journey. We each carry critical knowledge of how to make the portage. How do we leverage our combined skills to create dynamic finance/nursing teams?
Two areas of focus are ideal for this collaboration.
Delivery of safe, high-quality care. Patients do not expect to get infections when they come to a hospital. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services does not plan to pay for infections that were acquired in the hospital. Nursing plays a key role in bedside programs aimed at reducing adverse events, such as central line-associated bloodstream infections. Finance and patient care providers should work side by side to expand such processes.
Readmissions are a key quality concern. One strategy to reduce avoidable readmissions is to ensure that patients with high-risk diagnoses are discharged with appropriate follow up. Finance and nursing leaders can work together to design discharge systems that are cost effective.
Nursing functions at the bedside, with the patient and family-up close and personal. Finance is geographically removed from where the care is provided—where the clinical decisions are made. As a result, decisions made to reduce cost may not be directly linked to what happens at the bedside, where decisions might not fully consider payment implications. When we move to bundled payments, the question facing both care providers and finance personnel is, How will we know what to bundle? Providing high-quality care is what we will be paid for in the future. The two disciplines are both intimately involved in the pursuit of this outcome—so they must work together and communicate on how best to achieve it.
Imagine the game of Battleship where you make decisions and move without knowing what the other player’s board looks like. Luck and cunning is not how we will win the battle for high-quality care and fair payment.
Pamela Austin Thompson, MS, RN, CENP, FAAN, is CEO, American Organization of Nurse Executives, Washington, D.C.
Pamela Austin Thompson, MS, RN, CENP, FAAN, is a scheduled feature speaker at ANI 2014: The HFMA National Institute in Las Vegas, June 22-27. Her presentation, "Catalyzing Change: Aligning Nurses and Finance Professionals to Drive Value," will explore successful collaborative strategies for developing a deeper relationship between nursing and finance.
Publication Date: Thursday, May 01, 2014
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.
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