Financial Leadership

From rules and regulations to innovation and disruption: The best of HFMA’s 2020 Digital Annual Conference

January 22, 2021 12:48 am
  • Having gone all-digital this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HFMA’s Annual Conference continued to feature relevant insights and perspectives from an array of speakers.
  • CMS Administrator Seema Verma gave her take on several hot-button issues, including price transparency and telehealth.
  • The conference presented updates, strategies and best practices in accounting and compliance, margin growth, financial diversification, the revenue cycle, analytics and transformation.

At the beginning of the year, it would have been hard to envision the form that HFMA’s 2020 Annual Conference ended up taking. But when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the event’s debut in San Antonio, HFMA pivoted to developing its first Digital Annual Conference.

The digital presentation allowed HFMA members who otherwise would not have attended the conference to be part of the event and earn CPEs. At least 2,600 registered for each of the six days, with more than 3,600 joining on each of the last three days.

Amid the change in format, the 2020 conference continued to showcase astute, practical content about the most important issues in healthcare finance. Topics ranged from the micro (accounting and compliance updates) to the macro (disruptive industry forces).

HFMA members have access to most of the sessions on-demand (sessions can be used for FHFMA and CHFP maintenance but don’t qualify for CPE credits). Here are a few of the highlights from this year’s six-day event.

The headliners

CMS Administrator Seema Verma shared insights on the Trump administration’s price transparency push, the status of Medicare value-based payment models and the prospects for telehealth expansion. She spoke as part of an Aug. 12 session after receiving the Richard L. Clarke Board of Directors Award. Read more

Seema Verma, CMS

Jason Dorsey, a high-profile speaker on generational dynamics, explained how healthcare leaders should manage a workforce consisting of four generations. During his July 17 session, he also noted the leadership traits that are most appreciated by team members of different generations. Read more

HFMA President and CEO Joe Fifer opened the conference June 24 with a state-of-the-industry talk about why organizations coming out of COVID-19 should be focused not merely on reconstruction, but also on transformation. “We know that the old status quo was unsustainable,” he said. Read more

June 24: Know the Rules

Attendees heard about the latest accounting and compliance updates, along with cost and risk management strategies. In one session, Lisa Goldstein, associate managing director with Moody’s, delved into the credit-rating outlook for the not-for-profit healthcare sector during the pandemic. Read more

June 26: Co-Owning Margin

Sessions focused on how organizations can maintain COVID-19 partnerships and amplify shared responsibility for financial sustainability. For example, HealthEco’s Kyle Hathaway and Jami Youmans explained the difference between offense-oriented and defense-minded organizational “personas” and why an organization should identify its persona as the first step in developing revenue and margin strategies. Read more

July 15: 3D Financial Strategy

Especially in the current environment, healthcare organizations should consider all options for diversifying their financial portfolios. In a panel session, health system leaders Michele Cusack (Northwell Health), Jim Dietsche (Bellin Health) and Ann Paul (St. John Health System) discussed the opportunities they have found to strengthen their organizations coming out of the pandemic. Read more

July 17: Revenue Cycle Tune-up from the Top

Leaders of top-performing organizations offered best practices on managing revenue cycle operations in the face of COVID-19 and other industry trends. In one session, attendees learned about survey data on the top pain points in the patient financial journey and heard how they can create more of a consumer-centric environment. Read more

August 12: Uncovering Actionable Insights

With healthcare analytics becoming increasingly powerful, attendees learned how they can optimize organizational performance using KPIs from financial and clinical data sets. In the day’s closing presentation, OhioHealth revenue cycle leader Margaret Schuler was part of a panel that examined how analytics can transform the patient experience. Read more

August 14: The Big Picture

The final day of the conference included perspectives on the forces that are igniting healthcare transformation. The last word came from AVIA’s Jason Lineen, who described the need for organizations to implement a digital makeover that could revolutionize how care is provided. Read more

Looking ahead to 2021

HFMA’s Annual Conference is scheduled to return to an in-person format next year, June 27-30 in Boston.


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