Self-avowed healthcare finance fanatic heads up Mayo Clinic’s HFMA Enterprise Solutions initiative
Praveen Mekala, CHFP, CRCR, MPH, is CFO of Mayo Clinic-Minnesota and interim CFO of the Mayo Clinic Health System. He’s also passionate about healthcare finance. And earlier this year, Mekala found a new way to share that passion with colleagues: HFMA’s Enterprise Solutions membership initiative.
Mekala believes the program allows finance leadership teams to both leverage intuitive tools to drive education and allow professionals to invest in themselves. He regards this opportunity as being particularly important in the current environment when all organizations, including providers, are looking for ways to optimize employee benefits and education costs.
“The platform also offers a growing professional community that allows folks who are healthcare finance fanatics, such as myself, to meet and socialize with peers with similar passions,” said Mekala.
That’s why he volunteered to serve as executive sponsor of Mayo Clinic’s Enterprise Solutions initiative and introduced a refreshed vision of the program this past spring. Current goals for the rebranding include enrolling more members and increasing staff certifications. Other objectives are increased creativity and outside-the-box thinking among staff, improved problem solving and productivity, and demonstrated leadership development.
Use of staff-engaging tactics
Tactics for promoting Mayo’s Enterprise Solutions offerings have included providing information about the program during new hire enrollments and in welcome letters, through a monthly newsletter, recognition of new certifications and working with the local HFMA chapter.
“To date, our efforts have been heavily focused on building buzz around internal rebranding of the program,” said Mekala. “With the many competing priorities that our leaders and professionals contend with in the workplace and in their personal lives, making professional development through HFMA a priority is no small feat.”
Mekala said the transition to remote work due to the pandemic also made it challenging to connect with staff in an easy, fluid fashion. Even so, as of late August, Mekala and his team had enrolled nearly 200 additional Mayo Clinic staff in the enterprise membership program and increased staff certifications by 10% since January 2021. Mekala said he’s already noticed a growth in skills among staff that has resulted not only in higher quality work but also in increased positive feedback from customers.
According to Mekala, the recent evolution of HFMA’s learning and community platforms has been key to his team’s success thus far. He said executive finance leadership engagement also has been important, including that of Mayo Clinic CFO Dennis Dahlen, CHFP, CPA, HFMA’s 2021-22 Secretary/Treasurer.
Mekala also cited a positive team attitude and perseverance as important to the program’s success. “We are not resting on our laurels or getting complacent,” he said. “We are already thinking of tactics for 2022 and beyond as our communities fully emerge from the pandemic.”