Adventist Health's new CFO discusses the challenges and opportunities facing the health system, including cost-cutting, expansion deals, and cuts to the 340B prescription drug program.
The new CFO of Adventist Health views cost-cutting in areas such as labor and supplies as the most daunting challenge facing the health system, with mergers and partnerships viewed as the most attractive opportunities.
Adventist has promoted Joe Reppert, CPA, MBA, to CFO of the Roseville, CA-based health system, which features 20 acute-care hospitals on the West Coast and in Hawaii. Reppert is succeeding Jack Wagner, who is retiring.
Reppert previously served as CFO of Adventist's Northern California region, where the health system operates seven hospitals. His experience also includes working as CFO of Tupelo, MS-based North Mississippi Health Services.
HealthLeaders recently spoke with Reppert, who officially begins his new role Feb. 1. Following is a lightly edited transcript of that conversation.
HLM: How will your system CFO role be different than the Northern California CFO role?
Regional roles are closer to operations and the daily challenges that come with managing hospitals and ambulatory businesses. You are closer to patient care…as opposed system roles in a corporate office. That is why rounding is so critical.
The move to system CFO will bring a new set of challenges. I will never step too far from operations, but I enjoy the strategic elements of healthcare finance such as balance sheet management, developing partnerships, and longer-term planning.
HLM: What was the most important lesson you learned from your experience as CFO of Adventist's Northern California region?
Reppert: In Northern California, Adventist Health is in the process of cementing business relationships with other healthcare partners. Most significantly is the acquisition of Rideout Health in Marysville, Calif., which will likely be effective this March.
Rideout is a … health system with revenues of $400 million. Its addition to Adventist will strengthen our geographic presence north of Sacramento. The addition of Rideout Health will enable more effective coordination of certain services and specialty care among our hospitals in that geography. That circles right back to better care for our patients. As a result of this new affiliation, other partnerships are developing for further expansion of services, locations, and covered lives.
Relationships with other providers, payers and outside resources should be repeatable in other markets.
Christopher Cheney is the senior clinical care editor at HealthLeaders.