- Three health systems have managed to overcome much of the financial setbacks brought on by COVID-19, their finance leaders said during HFMA’s Digital Annual Conference.
- One system has reaped the benefits of its parent organization’s decision to avoid furloughing staff.
- Another system is looking to use the momentum of its response to the pandemic by continuing its transition into a population health company.
Striving to be nimble, proactive and innovative in their responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems have relied on the strength of their organizational cultures.
That was a central takeaway Wednesday from the featured general session of Day 3 of HFMA’s Digital Annual Conference. In “Navigating Through a Pandemic: Resilience and Rebuilding,” a panel of health system leaders discussed the challenges and opportunities of the current environment.
“We're talking probably a period of three weeks in which the whole world transformed around them,” said Michele Cusack, senior vice president and CFO of Northwell Health, referring to staff in departments such as revenue cycle and supply chain. “And they responded.”
Dealing with the first wave of cases
For each panelist, the pandemic drove home the importance of retaining the capacity to implement rapid changes to operations.
Northwell Health, based in New York City, was at the epicenter of the largest volume of cases in the pandemic’s early wave. The organization benefited from having installed an emergency management infrastructure about a decade earlier to prepare for natural disasters and other emergencies. The infrastructure allowed Northwell Health to coordinate across departments in preparation for the influx of cases, Cusack said.
“We were able to quickly change and adapt the clinical protocols across the system and get that information updated quickly through the back-end IT systems in ways that we really haven’t had to do in the past,” she said.