Half Blame Government for Industry Mess
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Pumpian says with Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement cuts and initiatives like value-based purchasing hitting in 2012, it's not surprising that finance leaders rank their top three priorities as:
- Patient experience/satisfaction (58%)
- Cost reduction, process improvement (49%)
- Payment reform, reimbursement (VBP, accountable care) (39%)
HCAHPS is the reason patient experience is at 58%, Pumpian says. "It's a major component of value-based purchasing and that's a key area for finance leaders. Plus you have to consider market share: How can you move market share from one facility to another? A lot of it comes from word of mouth from satisfied patients," she says.
Cost-cutting remains a priority for finance leaders, with 49% placing it in their top three priorities. Thirty-nine percent of survey respondents report the best opportunity for squeezing cost out of the operation will come from the labor line item. Just under half (44%) of finance leaders report they may cut labor costs by reducing employee benefits, while 38% may also implement a hiring freeze or a pay freeze (23%).
"As a CFO, I don't think any of us see the economy bouncing back soon. We are now in the third year of high unemployment and what we are noticing is that there are fewer procedures being done by choice," says Pumpian. "People are afraid to access care now because they don't have the resources to pay for it. If [CFOs] are seeing a reduction in volume over three years, they may do permanent layoffs because they don't expect the volumes to return. Hiring freezes are one tool we use; we have to use our resources effectively."
This article appears in the February 2012 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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