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Flat Patient Volume Adds to Fiscal Concerns for 2012

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media, December 28, 2011
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Process standardization. We have a strong Lean program, and this year every department had to have one process standardization project. Next year our focus will be on standardizing handoff processes between departments. We’re hoping this will help us improve our service quality and reduce costs.  

Which area do you anticipate affecting your margins most, and how will you try to offset the impact to your bottom line?

Technology. I think implementing this new IT system is going to have a positive and a negative impact, but we’ll mostly see the negative in 2012. The positive is, once we get it in place, we will spend a lot less time manually capturing the information we need to report to CMS for the publicly reported measures. I think that might also help us achieve better quality metrics. The negative is the expense of doing this project.

What areas are you analyzing for growth opportunities?
Service lines. There is still growth opportunity in orthopedics. We are trying to work with our orthopedic surgeons to come up with growth strategies. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of growth in cancer services. There’s opportunity there, but that’s not such great news for patients. Those are the two areas projected to have growth because of the baby boomer population. So we’re studying the demographics in the marketplace to come up with programs.  

What do you see happening with payer-provider relationships in 2012?
Collaboration. We’ve always had a contentious relationship with [payers], but we have to figure out how to work together to manage the health of the population differently. We have to figure out how to collaborate … because it’s in everyone’s best interest to come up with some way to do a better job.


Michelle Mahan
Senior Vice President and CFO
Frederick (MD) Regional Health System

Total net revenue 2011:
$354 million
Total net revenue 2010:
$316 million
Total number of licensed beds:
309

Editor’s note: Last year, Michelle Mahan offered her financial outlook for 2011. We asked her to tell us how this year panned out and what she anticipates for her organization in 2012.

What are the key areas you believe will affect your hospital in 2012, and how does it differ from 2011?
Reimbursement and healthcare reform. It’s very interesting that not a lot has changed since last year. Our top issues then were healthcare reform, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, and outpatient competition. Maryland is adding a new reimbursement concept to the two existing models. 

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