This article appears in the November issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
The third annual HealthLeaders Media CFO Exchange took place in August at the Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., bringing together nearly 40 financial leaders from a range of provider organizations nationwide. What do healthcare CFOs talk about when they get together?
We surveyed this year's attendees beforehand to help shape the event agenda. Three big-picture discussion topics emerged:
In two days of small-group discussions moderated by HealthLeaders Media editors, the financial leaders tackled these difficult topics, sharing successes and shortfalls. The organizations represented ranged from giant, multistate health systems such as Banner Health (headquartered in Phoenix, with 24 hospitals across seven states) and Catholic Health Initiatives (operating 87 hospitals in 18 states, with headquarters in Englewood, Colo.) to independent community hospitals such as Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, and Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Md.
Cost reduction is close to the CFO heart and an ongoing concern for healthcare organizations. Attendees reported a 10% goal, on average, in reduced operating costs over the coming three to five years. That figure has remained consistent over the three years of the CFO Exchange. But in that span, revenue cycle concerns have resurfaced with a vigor. Our financial leaders decried multiple forms of leakage that siphon away revenue due for services provided. They struggle to get their arms around complex negotiations with large payers, self-pay and no-pay patients, coding and clinical documentation, and supply chain and contracting.