Until a few years ago, I was the CFO of a small, rural hospital in Iowa. While I enjoyed the job immensely, and was proud of the innovations we created, I was in danger of developing a perspective that many people acquire when they work for the same organization for a lengthy period of time: “Our way must be the right way.”
In my current job at HFMA, I am blessed to meet with leaders from hundreds of different healthcare organizations each year. Hearing their diverse stories has really expanded my view about the multiple ways to achieve common goals.
In April, we held the first annual HFMA Capital Conference. Executives from nearly 25 hospitals and health systems gave presentations on how their organizations are demonstrating value to their communities, preparing strategically for the future, and seeking capital to fund major projects.
Although the format for each was similar, the presentations truly reinforced the phrase, “When you’ve seen one hospital, you have seen one hospital.”
For example, the CFO at Chicago’s Ingalls Health System described how his 563-bed community hospital aims to succeed as an independent entity in today’s merger-friendly marketplace. While leaders at Ingalls understand the importance of scale, they also believe there is a place for independent providers, assuming they demonstrate innovation, flexibility, and adaptability.
To this end, Ingalls has joined several collaborative partnerships. In addition to taking part in a buying cooperative to save on supplies, Ingalls is working closely with four other nearby hospitals to reduce readmissions. The effort, which is part of the federal Community-Based Care Transitions Program, has already resulted in significant reductions in readmissions in the community.
In contrast, Florida’s Boca Raton Regional Hospital has been increasing in scale and reputation—as well as brick and mortar—by providing state-of-the-art specialty care to its affluent patient population. The 400- bed hospital almost didn’t survive the Great Recession. In 2008, Boca Raton incurred a $120 million loss. Consultants were even brought in to prepare the hospital for sale.
However, Boca Raton achieved a dramatic 18-month turnaround by focusing intently on improving productivity, reducing costs, and improving quality. As a result, the hospital has attracted major philanthropic support from the community, enabling additional investments in clinical programs.
During the process of finalizing the selections for HFMA’s 2013 MAP Award for High Performance—which recognizes healthcare organizations that achieve excellence or demonstrate substantial improvement in revenue cycle performance—we saw a similar theme. Yet again, although the information provided by each award applicant is the same, the submissions we received reinforced the fact that there are many different ways for an organization to become a high performer.
All of the MAP winners demonstrated excellence against benchmark metrics, such as net days in accounts receivable and patient satisfaction. However, the approaches that these organizations used to improve their benchmark scores were very different based on the organization’s culture.
Some approaches were structured and process oriented, many used formal performance improvement tools such as Lean and Six Sigma, while others were less formal. Still others tied their employee and executive compensation and rewards systems into every day goals that were established for the revenue cycle teams. Some approaches were driven by the executive team, and still others were driven by management and motivated teams of staff members.
The take-away: All these MAP applicants are committed to excellence—and are excited and eager to achieve—no matter the organization’s management approach or style.
Flexible and adaptable, committed and incented … it’s all about developing a perspective to deliver on the promise of value. There are many paths to delivering this promise in all facets of healthcare organizations. What path have you chosen?
Todd Nelson is technical director for senior financial executives/accounting, HFMA.
TriMedx: Elevating and Streamlining Clinical Engineering
TriMedx helps health systems control costs and uncover savings opportunities by optimizing the clinical engineering function.
6 Patient Revenue Cycle Metrics You Should Be Tracking (and How to Improve Your Results)
Patient financial engagement is more challenging than ever – and more critical. With patient responsibility as a percentage of revenue on the rise, providers have seen their billing-related costs and accounts receivable levels increase. If increasing collection yield and reducing costs are a priority for your organization, the metrics outlined in this presentation will provide the framework you need to understand what’s working and what’s not, in order to guide your overall patient financial engagement initiatives and optimize results.
McKesson: Leveraging Predictive Analytics to Rein in Operating Costs
A leader from McKesson discusses how healthcare reform is forcing hospitals and health systems to take a different approach to capacity management and patient flow.
10 Ways to Reduce Patient Statement Volume (and Reduce Costs)
No two patients are the same. Each has a very personal healthcare experience, and each has distinct financial needs and preferences that have an impact on how, when and if they chose to pay their healthcare bill. It’s no longer effective to apply static billing techniques to solve the complex challenge of collecting balances from patients. The need to tailor financial conversations and payment options to individual needs and preferences is critical. This presentation provides 10 recommendations that will not only help you improve payment performance through a more tailored approach, but take control of rising collection costs.
Accretive Health: Partners with Providers to Excel in a Rapidly Transforming Revenue Cycle Environment
Emad Rizk, MD, president and CEO of Accretive Health, discusses the uncertainty facing hospitals and the transitions affecting revenue cycle management.
Reduce Patient Balances Sent to Collection Agencies: Approaching New Problems with New Approaches
This white paper, written by Apex Vice President of Solutions and Services, Carrie Romandine, discusses the importance of patient segmentation and messaging specifically related to the patient revenue cycle. Applying strategic messaging that is tailored to each patient type will not only better educate consumers on payment options specific to their billing needs, but it will maximize the amount collected before sending to collections. Further, targeted messaging should be applied across all points of patient interaction (i.e. point of service, customer service, patient statements) and analyzed regularly for maximized results.
Conifer Health Solutions: Helping Providers and Employers Build a Foundation for Better Health
Jim Bohnsack, vice president, solution & corporate development for Conifer Health Solutions, explains how the company helps healthcare providers leverage data to deliver better outcomes while optimizing reimbursement for all payment arrangements.
The Future of Online Patient Billing Portals
This white paper, written by Apex President Patrick Maurer, discusses methods to increase patient adoption of online payments. Providers are now seeking ways to incrementally collect more payments due from patients as well as speeding up the rate of collections. This white paper shows why patient-centric approaches to online payment portals are important complements to traditional provider-centric approaches.
Ontario Systems: Optimizing Accounts Receivable in a Rapidly Changing Environment
Steve Scibetta, senior director of channel sales for Ontario Systems' healthcare product line, shares insights into effectively managing receivables.
Payment Portals Can Improve Self-Pay Collections and Support Meaningful Use
Increased electronic engagement between healthcare providers and patients provides significant opportunities for improving revenue cycle metrics and encouraging patients to access EHRs. This article, written by Apex Founder and CEO Brian Kueppers, explores a number of strategies to create synergy between patient billing, online payment portals and electronic health record (EHR) software to realize a high ROI in speed to payment, patient satisfaction and portal adoption for meaningful use.
Optum: Enabling Transformative Change
Elena White, vice president of risk, quality, and network solutions for Optum, discusses how healthcare providers can leverage data and technology as they enable risk in their organization.
Large Health System Drives 10% UP (Patient Payments) and 10% DOWN (Billing-related Costs)
Faced with a rising tide of bad debt, a large Southeastern healthcare system was seeing a sharp decline in net patient revenues. The need to improve collections was dire. By integrating critical tools and processes, the health system was able to increase online payments and improve its financial position. Taking a holistic approach increased overall collection yield by 10% while costs came down because the number of statements sent to patients fell by 10%, which equated to a $1.3M annualized improvement in patient cash over a six-month period. This case study explains how.
Somnia: Bending the Healthcare Cost Curve Toward Improved Anesthesia Value
Somnia President and CEO Marc Koch, MD, MBA, explains how hospitals can drive transformative change in the perioperative experience for outstanding clinical and financial outcomes.
ICD-10: Managing Performance
With the ICD10 deadline quickly approaching and daily responsibilities not slowing down, final preparations for October 1 require strategic prioritization and laser focus.
PMMC: Navigating Revenue Cycle Management Challenges as Value Based Purchasing Emerges
PMMC President Roger L. Shaul discusses the effects of healthcare reform on revenue cycle management and how PMMC's products help clients adapt to a changing financial environment.
Clarity Drives Collections
Read how Gwinnett Medical Center provides clear connections to financial information, offers multiple payment options for patients, and gives onsite staff the ability to collect payments at multiple points throughout the care process.
Burgess: Simplify the Business of Healthcare
Greg Burgess, Founder and Chief Product Officer at Burgess Group shares insights and opportunities for payment integrity in the rapidly changing healthcare IT landscape.
Orlando Health Gains Insight into Denials, Reduces A/R Days with RelayAnalytics Acuity
Read how Orlando Health was able to perform deeper dives into claims data to help the health system see claim rejections more quickly–even on the front end–and reduce A/R days.
Revenue Cycle Payment Clarity
To maintain fiscal fitness and boost patient satisfaction and loyalty, healthcare providers need visibility into when and how much they will be paid–by whom–and the ability to better navigate obstacles to payment. They need payment clarity. This whitepaper illuminates this concept that is winning fans at forward-thinking hospitals.
Streamlining the Patient Billing Process
Financial services staff are always looking for ways to improve the verification, billing and collections processes, and Munson Healthcare is no different. Read about how they streamlined the billing process to produce cleaner bills on the front end and helped financial services staff collect more than $1 million in additional upfront annual revenue in one year.
Wallace Thomson Hospital Automates to Maximize Limited Resources
Effective revenue cycle management can be a challenge for any hospital, but for smaller providers it is even tougher. Read how Wallace Thomson identified unreimbursed procedures, streamlined claims management, and improved its ability to determine charity eligibility.
7 Steps for Building and Funding Sustainability Projects
Before launching an energy-efficiency initiative, it’s important to build a solid business case and understand the funding options and potential incentives that are available. Healthcare leaders should consider taking the steps outlined in the whitepaper to ease the process of gaining approval, piloting, implementing, and supporting sustainability projects. You will find that investing in sustainability and energy efficiency helps hospitals add cash to their bottom line. Discover how hospitals and health systems have various options for funding energy-efficient and renewable-energy initiatives, depending on their current financial structure and strategy.
Key Capital Considerations for Mergers and Acquisitions
Health care is a dynamic mergers and acquisitions market with numerous hospitals and health systems contemplating or pursuing formal arrangements with other entities. These relationships often pose a strategic benefit, such as enhancing competencies across the continuum, facilitating economies of scale, or giving the participants a competitive advantage in a crowded market. Underpinning any profitable acquisition is a robust capital planning strategy that ensures an organization reserves sufficient funds and efficiently onboards partners that advance the enterprise mission and values.
Key Capital Considerations for Mergers and Acquisitions
The success of healthcare mergers, acquisitions, and other affiliations is predicated in part on available capital, and the need for and sources of funding are considerations present throughout the partnering process, from choosing a partner to evaluating an arrangement’s capital needs to selecting an integration model to finding the right money source to finance the deal. This whitepaper offers several strategies that health system leaders have used to assess and manage capital needs for their growing networks.