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CFO Outlook for 2013 Grim

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, December 27, 2012

Steve Frantz
United Division CFO
LifePoint Hospitals Brentwood, Tenn.
Number of beds and hospitals: Over 6,000 and 56
LifePoint is a publicly-traded, for-profit company.


What are the key areas you'll be watching in 2013?

Reimbursement pressures. All hospitals are faced with reimbursement pressures and payment reforms impacting Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement. These pressures have led us to explore ways that we can operate more efficiently and enhance our ability to focus our resources on the delivery of high-quality patient care. For example, LifePoint has adopted a shared services approach for certain nonclinical business functions.

Physician collaboration and integration. We are looking for more effective ways to engage our primary care base and significantly improve how we interact with this group of physicians. Creating a service line approach and bringing these physicians to the table is very necessary to support our mutual success. Also, as more of these physicians operate in an "outpatient only" environment, we must find ways to keep them engaged with the hospital and our hospitalist programs. Be it through employment relationships or some other means, supporting our primary care physician base will be increasingly important moving forward. 

LifePoint HEN. We are very proud to be one of 26 organizations across the country—and the only for-profit organization—chosen by the Department of Health and Human Services to serve as a Hospital Engagement Network in its patient safety initiative. The HEN will continue to enhance our focus on quality and patient safety and bring key stakeholders to the table around quality initiatives.

New acquisitions and performance of recent acquisitions. We have an aggressive but disciplined strategy to grow through acquisitions, adding new hospitals to our company's footprint and new services within existing markets. We expect this strategy to have a significant positive impact on financial performance.

Which strategic undertakings from 2012 do you feel could greatly influence the organization in 2013?

Clinical documentation improvement, as one method of further enhancing patient safety and quality of care, is a key strategy for 2013. In addition, as our healthcare system moves closer to universal adoption of EMR, better documentation will allow patients and all caregivers greater transparency into existing conditions and previous or ongoing treatments. This should allow patients to become better educated about their health and more engaged in their treatments. 

Healthcare reform is driving a lot of changes in the model of care; how are these changes influencing your physician recruitment effort or compensation structures for 2013?

We expect to employ a higher percentage of primary care physicians in our markets in 2013. Employment of physicians is an important strategy to direct care back to our facilities and specialists who support our local facilities. This strategy should allow more patients to receive care close to home and also promote standardization and coordination of care in our communities.

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