What are the biggest issues facing hospital CFO’s today?

by Bird Blitch, CEO Patientco

patientco_whats_on_CFOs_mindInquiring minds want to know. What are the major issues you are facing as the CFO of a hospital or healthcare system? So many changes, all coming at once. What’s a leader to do?

I came across this article, discussing the top issues faced by hospital CFOs (like you) through the eyes of industry experts from firms such as Citigroup, Truven Health Analytics, and PNC Healthcare.

There are some interesting takeaways that caught my eye that I thought I would share:

Patient payments are becoming a big deal because of the rise of consumer directed health plans and the increase in patient payment responsibility

It’s true. For example, Alegeus Technologies recently released a report noting that in just one year, out of pocket spending for patients jumped by a whopping 13.4 percent. No doubt, the financial burden is shifting from businesses to consumers. Fast.

Look at it this way, there are 31% of employees with insurance plans who now have a $1,000 deductible or more. I’ve also read studies that put that number at over 50%!!! Bottom line is, the way healthcare is being paid for is changing.

Technology that puts patients in the middle is becoming increasingly important.

Out with the old, in with the new. Collection Agencies that are “fannies on seats, dialing up patients” does not improve the patient experience and will not improve your A/R.  Patients detest Agencies. Period. End of story. Treat your patients well and they will treat you well. Technology can help you do that without increasing the workload of your staff.

Decreasing reimbursements are hurting hospitals’ bottom line and their ability to make ends meet. 

As the newly minted CEO of Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta said, “We’re going to have to do more with less. Money is not coming in any better. We’re going to continue to ratchet down with sequestration, with cuts in Medicaid, … with decreasing [patient] volumes.” And as one of our customers recently told us, “Patient payments now really equals profits”.

Organizations need to look at their goal for cutting costs and make sure everyone, from CFOs to practitioners, are on the same page. 

Here’s the newsflash to everyone: Patients want unity. They want one seamless billing experience across their Physicians and Hospital visits. Technology is now in the marketplace that can do that, but it has to come at a price point that is affordable for health systems. As one CFO told me recently, “the other stuff (savings from combined billing offices, etc.) will follow if we can get everyone to put the Patient first.”

It’s very important for CFOs to have meaningful data coming in from all areas to make important decisions about provided care. 

I know, I know. That is the no brainer statement of the year, but it deserves attention because so many people are handcuffed with zero data. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. As executives, we have to measure patient satisfaction in real time.  This is a hard thing to do, but solutions are emerging in the marketplace to treat the patient like a consumer. Anything less and it’s the difference between Amazon and the old Sears catalogue. And we all know how that story ended.

What do you think?  Do you agree?

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