Healthcare CFOs: Evolving roles and responsibilities

 Erika Regulsky Tags: , , CFO's Corner

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The rainmaker!

How do you fuel and sustain growth on shifting ground? It is one of the most baffling challenges faced by CFOs of healthcare organizations. Their roles have grown and evolved beyond making business decisions and ensuring financial stability. It is CFOs who have to ensure financial success and top line growth in a climate of constant uncertainty. They are, in other words, the rainmakers of their organization.

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The FFS and value based payment model conundrum…

Payments models are evolving and there is a significant shift towards the value based payment model. It poses a huge challenge for CFOs as a majority of a medical practice’s income is derived from fee-for-service. And controlling costs, while increasing quality outcomes, is a tightrope walk.  Though the VBP model is in its infancy, it is by all counts, the future of healthcare. There is a common thread binding the shared savings arrangement programs, and it is incentivizing providers for controlling costs.

The 2 major components that make up the value based payment model are evidence based care that is tied to clinical guidelines, and patient outcome measurements. It is going to be increasingly tough to get reimbursed without pristine documentation and high levels of efficiency.

The future of payment initiatives such as bundled payments has also been radically changed under the revised healthcare reform laws. The new payment models have increased the financial risks faced by medical care providers.

Healthcare CFOs will have to devise strategies to minimize financial liabilities and also prepare their organizations to weather the storms of a future that is as clear as dishwater.

Keeping the morale high!

It is not just physicians who are going to be under enormous pressure to prove quality of care. Every single person across the organization will have to work longer, harder and smarter to adapt to the new payment reforms. During this downturn several medical care institutions have resorted to across the board salary cuts and placing more pressure on staff members. CFOs will have to move beyond their role of financial strategist and take on the mantle of a communicator and collaborator. CFOs will have to communicate with staff regarding the bottlenecks faced by the organization and encourage more participation from staff members. It is non clinical staff, who form, the support system of a medical practice. They have to be trained to spot and eliminate waste.

Automating workflow processes to a certain extent and outsourcing non clinical activities can alleviate the pressure on staff and help in containing costs. Creating varied work experiences that add more depth and dimension will also elevate staff morale.

Streamlining the healthcare supply chain…

The healthcare continuum is fragmented and is made up of several components. There is huge variation across the system and it can adversely impact the practice’s bottomline. CFOs will have to implement technology that integrates the disparate bits and pieces that make up the ecosystem of healthcare. Supply chain technology that helps to better manage work streams is essential. Identifying a platform that unifies different processes and systems into one wholesome solution will drive more productivity and enhanced clinical outcomes.

Different roles and responsibilities!

It is clear that CFOs of today will have to take care of not just financial aspects but get more involved in the entire healthcare ecosystem. The future of healthcare organizations and to a certain extent the direction it is moving towards will be determined by the man at the helm, the CFOs of healthcare organizations.

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I’m a multi-certified revenue cycle management professional and compliance officer with 20+ years of experience. I contribute articles to leading healthcare publications and journals. I am currently working as Senior Transition Manager, in BillingParadise headquartered at Diamond bar, California. BillingParadise offers Medical Billing Services that intersect perfectly with the EMR/Practice management system you use.BillingParadise has offices in New Jersey, New York, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, and Texas.

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