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Preview: At CFO Exchange, Cost Reduction Tops Agenda

Edward Prewitt, for HealthLeaders Media, August 15, 2013

Senior financial executives gathered for HealthLeaders Media's annual CFO Exchange say their top priorities include managing overall cost reductions and changes to reimbursement models as a result of healthcare reform.


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Nearly 40 financial executives from hospitals and health systems around the country have gathered at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, CO for two days of small-group discussions on the critical issues facing their organizations and the healthcare industry.

This is HealthLeaders Media's third annual CFO Exchange.

To build this year's agenda, we surveyed the attendees beforehand on their priorities and strategies. Two priorities rose overwhelmingly to the top:

  • Overall cost reduction and efficiency
  • Reimbursement and the impact of healthcare reform

The CFOs also named these dual priorities as the most challenging, which presages a difficult year ahead.

Goals
These financial leaders reported a 10% goal, on average, in reduced operating costs over the next 3-5 years. That figure has remained consistent over the three years of the CFO Exchange. Their organizations have pursued a range of cost reduction and performance improvement programs, with varying success.  

Most effective is setting overall system goals and metrics. Nearly equal numbers of CFOs reported positive results as were neutral on the effectiveness of Lean and Six Sigma programs to identify process waste, and dedicated improvement staff and resources.  

At the bottom of the list was employee- or unit-based programs with incentives, which the CFOs were either neutral about or had not tried.

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