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4 True Tales of Successful Financial Leadership

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, June 13, 2011

I spend a lot of time interviewing healthcare leaders about financial strategies. Sometimes I look at the big ideas, such as the effect accountable care organizations may feel on their margin. Other times I look at the low-hanging fruit that any financial leader would be thrilled to find and put back into a budget. Whether the task is large, such as ACOs, or smaller, such as revenue cycle quick-fixes, all have a common thread: in order to achieve success critical and abstract thinking must be applied.

I'm always enthralled to come across stories that describe, in practical terms, how leaders actually lead. As the saying goes, tough times define us and in the last few years with the downturned economy followed by the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act more than a few leaders have redefined what it means to be a healthcare leader.

Here are four of my recent favorites and must-reads for all healthcare leaders:

  1. How a CEO Empowered Staff to Save $3M and Their Jobs
    During the recession, Chicago's Swedish Covenant Hospital chief Mark Newton was unwilling to take draconian measures such as layoffs. Instead, he deployed a tactic from his entrepreneurial background: He challenged his staff to find ways to cut costs themselves. In Part 2, Newton details measures taken by hospital staff to meet his challenge, and divulges the wider benefits of leading through a crisis by engaging and empowering employees. Great stuff by my colleague, Philip Betbeze, and a must-read for all hospital and health system CFOs.
  2. How to Make Millions in Hospital Revenue Reappear
    I wrote this one myself, but it's both a practical treatise on charge capture and a morality tale about the value of consistency. I relay the story of Christus Health in Irving, TX one of the largest Catholic Health Systems, which decided to prioritize consistency in the charge capture of its emergency department levels and injections/infusions and wound up recovering a whopping $29 million in net revenue.

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