Hospital Finance, Quality Team Up for Better Profit Margins

, August 12, 2013

The finance leaders at New Jersey's Barnabas Health have a new motivation for engaging with the quality department's efforts: reducing readmissions and cutting costs.

As the healthcare industry moves towards population health management and a value-based reimbursement model, finance and quality—which have long operated in separate silos—are starting to come together in new ways in order to improve patient care and protect profit margins.

Deborah Larkin, vice president, quality at Barnabas Health, an integrated delivery network based in West Orange, NJ, says that even though there is a lot of uncertainty around health reform, the changes it is forcing within her organization are encouraging.

"I think we are in a state like many other hospitals where we are not quite sure what to expect, how many patients are going to enroll, what the utilization will be, [and] what resources they are going to access. In many ways, it's a wait and see situation. Frankly, I don't think any hospital or integrated system knows the answer," Larkin says.

"With health reform, it's like a totally different ball game now. It's nice because finance and quality are joining in and trying to understand how processes matter with regard to the cost of healthcare."


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