Independent Provider's 'Strength' Strategy Keeps Options Open

, March 3, 2014

By strategically investing in EHR, creating a financial plan around taking risk, and establishing both a physician leadership institute and a business unit for innovation, an independent Pennsylvania health system shores up its finances for whatever the future may hold.

The consolidation of healthcare organizations has been the trend for years and shows no signs of slowing down. As providers are squeezed by myriad financial pressures—from the need to invest heavily in electronic health records and other IT capabilities to the desire to redesign care delivery models in the face of value-based reimbursements—staying independent is becoming tougher to do.

Yet, some hospitals and health systems are resisting the mergers and acquisitions path and finding strategies to remain autonomous.

See Also: The Benefits (and Costs) of Consolidation

Looking Within the Organization for Opportunities
One key to being able to go it alone is to do predictive modeling in order to be nimble enough to handle a number of simultaneous financial challenges, says Thomas E. Beeman, PhD, president and CEO at Lancaster (PA) General Health, an independent institution with 690 beds and nearly $1 billion in total fiscal year 2013 revenues.

"About four or five years ago, we engaged in scenario planning with about 100 senior leaders, board members, and physician leaders with the help of an outside [consultant] to play out four possible scenarios of what the future might look like," Beeman told me. The variables that were considered, he said, included changes in Medicare payment rates and new reimbursement models.


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