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5 Nuggets of Wisdom from CFOs

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2012

The Next Phase of Cost Containment is HealthLeaders Media's latest Impact Analysis report, based on survey data and a roundtable discussion with five of the nation's top healthcare CFOs. The report highlights how these leaders are addressing the need to contain cost increases, but it also underscores a looming issue for healthcare organizations. CFOs may feel more like jugglers than financial leaders in 2012 as they navigate a trio of costly technology transitions, including the meaningful use mandate for electronic medical records, the implementation of HIPAA 5010, and ICD-10 deadlines.

With so much to accomplish and finite resources to work with, here are five nuggets of wisdom mined from our CFOs to guide you through 2012:

1.When it comes to technology, know the difference between want and need. "A lot of people don't understand the difference between expenditure and investment. … I put IT definitely in the investment category," says John Dragovits, executive vice president and CFO at Dallas's $1.1 billion Parkland Health & Hospital System.

There was a time when technology was a want, but now failing to have the right technology in place can mean your organization will miss out on stimulus payments. Consider the government incentives for meeting the meaningful use deadline on EMRs (also known as Stage One).

Adding an EMR and using it in a "meaningful way" falls under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, a part of The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Stage One of the implementation process should be completed or nearing completion at many healthcare organization, as billions of dollars in stimulus payments are at stake. To attain the maximum incentive payment, Medicare-eligible organizations must begin participation by 2012. Incentive payments for eligible hospitals began in May 2011. The amount an organization will receive is based on several factors but begins with a $2 million base payment.

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1 comments on "5 Nuggets of Wisdom from CFOs"


Lars Thording (1/26/2012 at 1:28 PM)
Great points here. Many healthcare CFOs around the country have embraced reprocessing of single-use medical devices as an effective method for reducing costs and improving operating margins. As you mentioned, empowering leadership staff to make smart decisions, and holding them accountable for expenditures is the key to achieving bottom line results. Thank you for this poignant and timely article.