Rogers discusses her new position, her ultimate goals for the organization, and how healthcare leaders can overcome the onslaught of financial challenges facing hospitals.
Sherron Rogers, a veteran in the healthcare finance space with almost two decades of experience—has recently stepped into the role of chief financial officer for Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital—a St. Petersburg, Florida–based pediatric care organization.
Rogers joined Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital earlier this year, having previously served as CFO and chief strategy officer for Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis for six years. Rogers says she was drawn to the CFO role at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital out of a desire to help the organization's mission to care for vulnerable members of the community and its patient-first focus.
HealthLeaders recently connected with Rogers to discuss her new position, her goals for the organization, and how healthcare leaders can overcome the onslaught of financial challenges facing hospitals and health systems.
HealthLeaders: What financial challenges is the organization facing and what solutions do you plan to utilize?
Sherron Rogers: 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, to 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 are some ways Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital is investing in its employees?
Rogers: Sacrificing patient care and sacrificing our workforce are non-negotiable. We pride ourselves on delivering outstanding high-quality care and creating memorable experiences during extremely tough times in people's lives, we won't compromise on that. And to do that, we have to have an engaged, happy, and empowered workforce. We have to find a way to do both, and it isn't as simple as compensation.
Compensation is extremely important, but it is also about those other services and benefits that we can provide like dependent tuition reimbursement, continuing education, training on engaging people around work, and pursuing their ideas. All of that creates a good work environment and we're intentional about that.
Anyone who works in healthcare has a taxing job, cares deeply about the patient in front of them, and wants to do their best. So, we invest in things like employee assistance programs, having on-site counseling services, and ensuring our leaders are trained and equipped to identify if someone is challenged and having burnout. We also invest in future planning, like retirement planning, and helping support school loan payments. Anything that can reduce the financial burden can be critical to our colleagues.
HL: How does Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital utilize technology in healthcare?
Rogers: We are reliant on technology. We have a number of robust technology systems in place, and we have strong business and finance systems that support our work. We are investing in additional analytic support so we can better understand the clinical data within our electronic medical record system and the financial data within our business system. With that information in the hands of our leaders, we can work toward improving our goals.
HL: What is your goal for Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, and how will you achieve this goal?
Rogers: When I joined the organization, I went on somewhat of a learning tour. I wanted to hear feedback from my team. I wanted to know what was working well for them, what ideas they had, and the things that we could improve, as well as different services that we could provide to add value to our customers. I wanted to know the ways in which they typically work with finance, not only their priorities but also their pain points.
It's important to understand our customers' needs first and to ensure we're meeting those needs and then as we begin to address our customers' needs and wishes, we can start to layer in some of our own priorities as well. So, I'm focused on providing additional transparency and insight behind the numbers. You won't find me just sharing numbers—I'll share all the numbers that I can, but there is always context and story behind those figures. That mindset resonates well when I am working with our operational leaders. Finance has an opportunity to monitor not only what's occurring right now, but how we support strategic decision-making in our future. That's a priority for me.
Amanda Schiavo is the Finance Editor for HealthLeaders.