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6 Healthcare Finance Stories Worth Checking Out

Analysis  |  By Jack O'Brien  
   December 30, 2020

These are the top healthcare finance stories HealthLeaders published in 2020.

There was no lack of meaningful healthcare finance news in 2020, as hospitals and health systems faced several operational obstacles of a historic scale.

Whether it was the sudden outbreak of COVID-19, the ongoing legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, or outstanding policy announcements from the Trump administration, health system leaders had plenty to worry about with relation to the bottom line.

Still, there were lessons learned from each new development, both in terms of short-term action and long-term consequences.

These are the top healthcare finance stories HealthLeaders published in 2020.

  1. 4 Ways Hospitals Should Prepare for the Price Transparency Rule Next Year

    At the start of 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will require hospitals to provide patients with easily accessible information about gross changes, payer-specific negotiated charges, discounted cash prices, and "deidentified" minimum and maximum negotiated charges.

    The final rule on price transparency has been a hot-button healthcare policy item for the Trump administration and one that provider organizations fought in court.

    HealthLeaders spoke with healthcare stakeholders about the four strategies that hospitals and health systems should put into place to comply with the final rule.
  2. Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Addresses Mental Health, Cybersecurity in Davos

    Prior to the pandemic, Robert Garrett, FACHE, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, attended the 30th annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

    At the conference, Garrett participated in a panel to discuss the global mental health crisis and talk about topics that intersect with healthcare and business such as cybersecurity risks.

    He also spoke with HealthLeaders about the operating margin pressures on providers, “Medicare for All” proposals, and the increased presence of nontraditional corporate players in healthcare.
  3. What SCOTUS Oral Arguments in ACA Case Mean for Hospitals

    In early November, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in California v. Texas, an ongoing case which could decide the fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and have repercussions for hospitals and health systems.

    HealthLeaders spoke with healthcare attorneys and observers about key takeaways for provider executives from this week's hearings and where the case could be headed in the coming weeks and months.

    "I would tell CEOs of hospitals that I think we can step back a little bit and that [the ACA] shouldn't be your biggest worry," Susan Feigin Harris, partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, said.
  4. Employers and Private Insurers Paid Hospitals 247% of What Medicare Would Have

    Private insurers and employers paid 247% more than what Medicare would have for hospital services in 2018, according to the highly anticipated 'RAND 3.0' report released in mid-September.

    In 2018, relative prices for hospital inpatient services were 231% of Medicare while relative prices for hospital outpatient services were 267% of Medicare.

    "From the provider standpoint, I think if they're willing to go in that direction, there's certainly a receptive market of employers who are thinking more about prices and value," said Christopher Whaley, associate policy researcher at RAND Corporation.
  5. Health Systems' Road Map to Financial Opportunity

    Leaders at hospitals and health systems are always looking to expand financial opportunities to drive revenue, increase margins, and cut costs at their organizations. It's just good business as reimbursement rates dwindle and costs rise.

    But finding financial opportunities for health systems has never been so crucial as when the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic disrupted healthcare and spread across the United States starting in mid-March.

    HealthLeaders spoke with healthcare executives from four health systems about different approaches to driving revenue, slashing costs, and pursuing dynamic opportunities for financial growth.

    This article appears in the July/August 2019 edition of HealthLeaders magazine.
  6. OSF HealthCare CFO: Future Revenues May Be Less Than Pre-COVID Levels

    Since the domestic spread of the coronavirus began in mid-March, compounded by the subsequent cancellation of elective procedures to handle the influx of patients infected with COVID-19, several new market dynamics have appeared before health system CFOs along with an acceleration of existing trends.

    Michael Allen, FHFMA, CPA is the CFO at OSF HealthCare and told HealthLeaders, Allen detailed how his organization dealt with the significant financial disruption and revenue declines that began in mid-March and how the outbreak has redefined the traditional budgeting process.

    "We may be facing a future where our revenue stream is less than it was pre-COVID," Allen said. "The only adjustment you have, if that's the case, is growing your market. It's going to be challenging to do that in a market that's shrinking, if that's in fact the case; whether it's shrinking in activity because people are being more cautious about getting their care, or it's shrinking because of your payer mix, it's going to be harder and harder to try to grow market [share] in those environments."

Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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