An upcoming CFO roundtable provides a peer-sharing platform to learn best practices for advancing a healthcare organization's financial health.
Today's healthcare financial leaders face escalating costs, quality improvement issues, difficult reimbursement environments, an increasingly complex service portfolio, and risk management associated with performance contracting.
Pressure mounts on CFOs to ensure their organizations remain viable as they deal with these issues, which makes gleaning proven strategies from colleagues imperative.
Four dozen executives will convene at a private roundtable forum during the 2018 HealthLeaders Media CFO Exchange, August 8–10 in Santa Barbara, California, to
address top-of-mind concerns.
In pre-event planning calls, Exchange participants—representing integrated health systems, academic medical centers, community hospitals, and safety net providers from across the U.S.—want to know how others are taking on risk, improving costs, addressing consumerism, and capturing additional reimbursement.
During the two-day event, a series of moderated roundtables will explore areas of special interest expressed by CFOs, including the following:
1. Cost improvement
Since costs are increasing at rates higher than reimbursement, how does a CFO drive cost performance to maintain sufficient operating margins? How are systems successfully leveraging scale to rationalize administrative and support services?
2. Proliferation of mergers and acquisitions
How can an independent organization survive in this environment? Should it consider other affiliations? For those involved in new entities, how are leaders achieving value?
3. Taking on risk
How does an organization prepare to take on and reduce risk, and when does an organization know that it is ready? How can CFOs build reserves to offset unexpected outlays?
4. Enhancing revenue cycle performance
How can financial leaders improve payer terms, reduce denials, ensure payer compliance, and improve clinical documentation? What are effective ways to deploy new workflow technologies in patient accounts?
5. Performance-based contracts
How are organizations engaging medical staff to reduce the cost of care and improve outcomes?
6. Medical group employment
How does a health system minimize provider subsidies for employed physicians and improve practice performance?
7. Medical consumerism
How can healthcare organizations compete against disruptors in the growing environment of consumer choice? What are creative ideas for meeting consumer demand without adding cost?
Additional information will be shared during the two-day gathering. The CFO Exchange is one of six annual HealthLeaders Media events for healthcare thought leadership and networking.
Revenue cycle and patient financial experience
Recently, HealthLeaders Media hosted a Revenue Cycle Exchange, which brought together 50 executives to discuss improving the patient financial experience; maximizing reimbursement; managing claims denials; technology adoption and data analytics; revenue cycle optimization; and creating a leaner, more effective team.
Noting how consumerism is influencing bill payment and giving rise to the patient voice, leaders are seeking ways to make paying easier. Consumer feedback suggested easy-to-understand and consolidated statements.
"We have a single business office with Epic, so regardless of where a patient gets their services, they get one bill from our organization," says Cassi Birnbaum, director of health information management and revenue integrity at UC San Diego Health.
"We've also created a position for a patient experience director, so any complaint goes through that unit and they'll contact one of my supervisors to ensure the patient gets the answers they need. That's helped a lot and provides a one-stop, concierge, patient-facing experience to help ensure the patient's balance is paid," Birnbaum says.
Providing estimates and leveraging technology are also helpful for fostering patient payments. More health systems are promoting MyChart, an online tool for patients to manage their health information, as well as kiosks in key locations.
"We have a patient portal in which you can see any outstanding balance at a hospital or clinic and decide what you want to pay today," says Mary Wickersham, vice president of central business office services at Avera in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
"Patients can also extend their payments since we have a hyperlink that goes to the extended loan program if needed. With kiosks at our clinics, patients pull out their credit card and complete their copay. Nobody asks; they just automatically do it," she says.
Front- and back-end staff play an integral role in calculating payment estimates, collecting dollars in advance of procedures and tests, and communicating the often-puzzling connection between hospital charges for physician practice and provider-based department patients.
"One of our big challenges now is we're bringing a lot of that back-end work to the front," says Terri Etnier, director of system patient access at Indiana University Health in Bloomington, Indiana.
As facilities move toward centralized scheduling systems to manage reimbursement, some facilities are centralizing coding and billing processes.
"We don't have a full comprehensive preregistration function for our clinics mainly due to volume. We're piloting a preregistration group for our clinic visits to work accounts ahead of time since we are continuing to work toward automation," says Katherine Cardwell, assistant vice president at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans.
"We have kiosks in some of our clinics. Epic has an e-precheck function where we can now do forms. You can sign forms on your phone, and make your payment and your copayment ahead of time. And you can actually get a barcode that you can just scan when you get to the clinic," Cardwell says.
Julie Auton is the leadership programs editor for HealthLeaders.