3 Healthcare CFOs on the Election and Sequestration
Debbie Bloomfield: The election hasn't influenced our approach. We made an organizational decision that, regardless of what happens with the election, we're going to keep moving forward. So the work we've been doing developing our network, and becoming a Medicare Shared Savings Program participant is on track, and we have no intention of varying what we were doing. Also, our project for rolling our EMR out throughout CHP wasn't dependent upon the election results, so we'll keep that moving forward too.
[In terms of financial gains or losses] some of that is still yet to be determined. However, we do recognize that no matter what, the cost for healthcare is a problem for everyone. That's why we knew we had to move forward with the [strategic] initiatives we'd already planned. However, we realize there's a [federal] budget to be balanced, and that'll require [political] give and take. That's where we're skeptical as to whether it will be positive for providers from a financial standpoint.
Rick Hinds: Regardless of who won the election, it was going to be a rough few years for the healthcare industry, and we'll just need to work through it. President Obama isn't going to have to worry about getting elected a third time, so he doesn't have to worry about pushing his agenda. What's really going to matter is the alignment between the House and the Senate to be able to push any of their agenda items. But at least we know where we're heading with Obama's re-election, and I think that will help all of us move forward in terms of healthcare reform. But the election hasn't changed our plans; we're still moving along full force on all of our initiatives.
On the cost side, we'll continue our cost reduction strategies and partnering to make sure we have the breadth of services that we need. We're also dipping into the risk side of the business in terms of contracting with the payers, particularly on the commercial side, and the work that we need to do around pay-for-performance initiatives that the government's rolled out. Lastly, we're looking at some patient populations that we might want to do some Medicare waiver projects on—again, so we can get into the risk-sharing side of the business. [Financially] the most immediate thing for us is the "fiscal cliff"—sequestration—that may happen next year. We've budgeted for that.
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