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Analysis

Forward-looking Financial Processes for a Post-pandemic Landscape

By Jack O'Brien  
   August 13, 2020

The roundtable panel details diversifying the capital investment portfolio, the future of telehealth, and how the impact of widespread unemployment will affect each organization's payer mix. 

Editor's note: This article is based on a roundtable discussion report sponsored by Vizient, Inc. The full report, Financing the Healthcare System of the Future, is available as a free download.

Following the first surge of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, hospitals and health system executives are facing financial and operational challenges that will require effective solutions but also offer the opportunity to implement protocols that could lead to greater efficiencies and drive value.

"We're moving into more of a value-based care environment and reimbursement system, and so I think using a platform that's virtually based and bringing the provider and the payer together is going to enable it moving forward," says Rob McMurray, MBA, CPA, chief financial officer at ChristianaCare, based in Newark, Delaware.

For some organizations, the pandemic has accelerated existing trends and brought about long-awaited developments, especially around care in the emergency department (ED).

"It's an interesting phenomenon here with our ACO; we spent a lot of time, energy, and effort over the last three years on how we get people who do not belong in the ED to stop coming to the ED. This pandemic did it," says John Grigson, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Covenant Health, based in Lubbock, Texas.

The pandemic led to the increased popularization of telehealth and virtual care services, and children's hospitals were no exception to that trend.

"Before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, we went from having about 100 virtual visits per month to 6,000, so that was a huge spike," says Brenda McCormick, MBA, chief financial officer at Children's Minnesota, based in Minneapolis. "We’re seeing that come down as some patients are feeling more comfortable going to the clinic. I don’t know where it will normalize, but I know it’s going to be quite a substantial shift from where we were before the pandemic."

As hospitals consider their forward-looking operations coming out of the pandemic's first wave, data analytics will be a crucial component of the strategies that will be put into place.

"Data is the key and part of our population health; [engage] the clinicians to look at that data and break it down to a smaller, digestible [level], and you’ll find that clinicians are focused on quality and they’re also competitive," says Jim Beiermann, chief financial officer at Southwestern Health Resources, based in Dallas. 

View the complete HealthLeaders Roundtable report: Financing the Healthcare System of the Future.

Jack O'Brien is the finance editor at HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


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