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5 M&A Tips from Finance Executives

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, July 7, 2014

The top lesson shared by four senior-level healthcare finance executives experienced in mergers and acquisitions: "You can work through most things, but if you can't work through the culture and mission issues, it's not going to work."

Consolidation continues to be the trend in healthcare as provider organizations look for merger, acquisition, and affiliation opportunities in order to provide better, more-efficient care and to prepare for the movement toward value-based reimbursements. However, successfully executing an M&A transaction is no small task, and failing to do it well can have enormous implications.

I recently moderated a roundtable discussion among four senior-level finance executives about what is involved in integrating two organizations, and they shared several lessons learned from their experiences.

1. Culture Trumps All Else

Even with all the operational and financial challenges that exist when working through an acquisition, nothing is more important than culture. Failing to blend the two organizations culturally is the surest way to failure, the executives say.

"Culture trumps financial benefit, efficiencies and everything else, and the process isn't done overnight," says Ted Dudley, executive vice president and CFO at Catholic Medical Center Healthcare System in Manchester, NH. "It really starts with just the cultural fit between administrations. Even if both administrations may not be the surviving administration, there has to be that sort of coming together in terms of why we're doing it and what's the benefit."

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