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5 Nuggets of Wisdom from CFOs

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, January 9, 2012

Your organization's staff knows the correlation between the need to cut costs in order to keep jobs and a strong bottom line. Give them the authority to make cost-reducing decisions and you may be surprised how much you save this year.

An excellent example of this type of leadership is that of Jim Dague, CEO at IU Health Goshen (IN) Hospital. He promised employees that if they could shave $3.5 million off the budget, he'd shave his head. After receiving 4,500 suggestions, the 143-bed organization cut nearly $7 million out of the budget—and he got a $7 buzz cut in exchange.

5.Get it together. "It," in this instance, is organization-wide technology. Though costly, converting to a single EMR system brings several advantages: Everyone in the organization has access to the same information, There is less chance of ordering unnecessary tests (and then losing the reimbursement when a payer refuses to pay), and EMR improves population health management. If hospitals work with local group practices to implement a shared EMR system, all area healthcare providers can begin to track patients, especially those with chronic conditions, on a wide scale.

"It is a way of finally getting us to interact and share information together. It's the beginning of what we need to do organizationally to start acting as a true system, as opposed to disparate groups within a larger whole," says Greg Pagliuzza, CFO at Trinity Regional Health System, a 25-hospital system in Rock Island, IL, with annual revenues over $2.3 billion.

Unquestionably 2012 is going to be a watershed year for CFOs to help their organizations meet numerous technology deadlines. Containing cost will be exceptionally challenging as the monetary outlay for this technology continues. However, by applying some of this advice and reframing your approach to cost reduction, you may find some new and innovative strategies to get the job done.


Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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1 comments on "5 Nuggets of Wisdom from CFOs"


Lars Thording (1/26/2012 at 1:28 PM)
Great points here. Many healthcare CFOs around the country have embraced reprocessing of single-use medical devices as an effective method for reducing costs and improving operating margins. As you mentioned, empowering leadership staff to make smart decisions, and holding them accountable for expenditures is the key to achieving bottom line results. Thank you for this poignant and timely article.