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Column | Staff Development

Fellner celebrates 50 years of HFMA membership and Borrego aims to earn all HFMA certifications

Column | Staff Development

Fellner celebrates 50 years of HFMA membership and Borrego aims to earn all HFMA certifications

Sept. 1, 2020, officially marked 50 years of HFMA membership for Bernard S. Fellner, FHFMA, MS, MPH, who is now retired.

HFMA involvement

Fellner joined HFMA when it was the Hospital Financial Management Association. He started in what was then the Massachusetts Chapter from 1970 to 1980. He relocated to Colorado in 1980 and climbed the office ladder in the Chapter until and through his presidency in 1995-96. Other HFMA acknowledgments include earning:

  • Fellowship in 1974
  • Certified Manager of Patient Accounts in 1976
  • Follmer Bronze Founders Award in 1979
  • Reeves Silver Founders Award in 1992
  • Muncie Gold Founders Award in 1994
  • Founders Medal of Honor Award in 2002

“Being involved in HFMA was ‘life and death essential’ for career growth when I started in this business, as young folks like me were ‘discovered’ at meetings and committee involvements,” said Fellner.

Career timeline

Fellner’s career trajectory improved after he was introduced to the financial aspects of healthcare when he was in his mid-to-late 20s. He described that realization as “incredible.” His career includes:

  • Four years at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston
  • Six years at the University of Massachusetts Teaching Hospital at Worcester
  • Nearly 18 years as CFO of National Jewish Hospital in Denver
  • Fifteen years as a manager in the Denver regional office of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

“I certainly realize and appreciate that my two HFMA chapters, Massachusetts and Colorado, were the wind beneath my wings,” he said. 

Borrego earns nearly every HFMA certification

Fabian J. Borrego, CHFP, CRCR, CSAF, CSMC, CSPPM, MBA, regional chief financial officer at Universal Health Services, South Texas Region in Edinburg, Texas, earned his first CHFP in 2010. This year Borrego, a member of the HFMA South Texas Chapter, renewed his HFMA membership and wanted to pass the CHFP again as a refresher. At the time, he did not have the intention of completing any other certifications.

“After passing my CHFP, I found it especially useful in renewing my foundation of healthcare finance,” Borrego said. “I decided to continue the remaining certifications to refresh my knowledge of these specific healthcare financial fields.”

The only remaining certification Borrego has left to complete is the Certification for Specialist in Business Intelligence (CSBI), which he hopes to earn by the end of 2020.

Words of encouragement

Borrego has a few tips for those hesitating to start an HFMA course or who are currently studying.

  • Consider this an opportunity to refresh your foundational knowledge.
  • Take your time to review and understand the information.
  • Be sure to apply what you learn to your job’s daily financial operations.

“From a career standpoint, the certifications enhanced credibility with my current finance team and my growing professional network,” said Borrego. 

About the Author

Jennifer Novoseletsky

is a social media manager, HFMA, Westchester, Ill.

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