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CFOs Share Their Thoughts On Overcoming Healthcare’s Financial Challenges

Analysis  |  By Amanda Schiavo  
   October 04, 2022

Healthcare leaders are implementing creative solutions to some of the sector’s most pressing challenges.

CFOs are facing challenge after challenge resulting from the pandemic, inflation, labor shortages, and growing expenses. These problems call for creative solutions to improve the financial well-being of hospitals and health systems. CFOs are uniquely positioned to find resolutions that will strengthen their bottom line while prioritizing patient care and employee satisfaction.  

HealthLeaders recently connected with healthcare industry leaders to discuss some of the difficulties CFOs are facing, where they need to focus going forward, and what solutions they’ve utilized within their organizations.

HealthLeaders: What are some of the biggest challenges impacting rural healthcare providers?

Douglas Arvin, CFO for Altru Health System: The ability to recruit and retain clinicians, physicians, and medical staff members is probably more challenging because we don't live on a beach or coast here. And so, there are challenges associated with that. Geography is a challenge, especially when facilities can be miles and miles apart. But people in rural communities have the same healthcare needs. So, improving their lives or, even saving their lives, is just as critical here. It's important to be able to invest in that and make sure that access to healthcare is available for people in this region and throughout the country.

HL: What financial challenges is your organization facing and what solutions do you plan to utilize?

Sherron Rogers, CFO for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital: Healthcare is changing rapidly, and we are challenged to keep up with the pace of change. It's important to continue to provide the most meaningful services to our patients, and the community, and to expand the services that we provide. Like everyone else, we're facing challenges in continuing to recruit and retain the workforce. We have a wonderful organization that is mission-driven and is a place where people want to work. But that's not the end of the story. People need to feel their work is valued and they can do that in our organization. And we need to continue to make sure we're providing those meaningful experiences for our members because they are the ones giving to our patients. We are hiring in all areas of the health system, but like others, we're trying to make sure we're recruiting, in nursing, and respiratory therapy, specifically.

We've asked a lot of our people throughout the course of the pandemic. You don't go into healthcare expecting an easy career. Most of us in healthcare are the ones running toward a challenge, not away from one. We have that in our spirit. However, nobody expected the pandemic or the effects of the pandemic to last as long as it has, so that provides somewhat of a weariness, and that's part of the challenge to attracting and retaining talent.

HL: What do you think CFOs will be focusing on over the next six to 12 months?

Tina Wheeler, U.S. healthcare leader for Deloitte: Margin pressures, how to enhance revenue, how to control costs, and how to deal with the workforce. They'll also want to focus on evolving their digital tools, and digital capabilities, and enhancing the patient experience while improving efficiency and driving down costs. Watching the journey that healthcare organizations have gone on related to health equity, sustainability, or ESG will be top of mind.

Amanda Schiavo is the Finance Editor for HealthLeaders.

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