Healthcare organizations' concerns about capital access and long-term viability are driving a boom in mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, and other affiliations. Increasingly, these agreements result in nontraditional partners: nonprofits with for-profits, academic medical centers with investor-owned firms, faith-based systems with secular systems, and affiliations across the continuum of care. Ownership and governance structures also vary in terms of control. Today's healthcare leaders must base their M&A search on a host of factors, including capital access, local market needs, financial support, and growth opportunities—and the risk of being left out. Time and effort must also be invested in priorities after the merger or acquisition is completed. Careful planning around managing the business as well as direct and indirect relationships post-consolidation need to be near the top of every leader's to-do list. [Sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch]
Healthcare leaders are preparing for the shift away from volume-based reimbursement by experimenting with different structures for population health. Organizations must learn how to collaborate with new partners, including erstwhile competitors. Population health management also requires internal bridge building; executive and physician leaders must work together to create networks. Primary care physicians could be in short supply, while specialists are likely to see their payment, work mode, and degree of control turned upside down. Good data and analysis of the patient population is absolutely necessary, but not sufficient. The most important determinants of success or failure will be so-called soft factors: trust, culture, and leadership. [Sponsored by MedSynergies.]
The economics of value-based healthcare are driving individual hospitals to seek system affiliation and health systems to partner with other health systems. At the same time, healthcare executives face funding demands for capital needs, including burgeoning IT investments.
Access to capital is a critical need for the great majority of organizations, but the equations are changing; access is now predicated on expectations of margin, not just volume alone. Healthcare financial leaders must understand the fine points of different sources for funding, including banks, bonds, private equity, and philanthropic donations. They must join capital considerations with strategic planning to ready their organizations for the new era of healthcare.
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