Hospital CFOs get more involved in operations

Health reform implementation, margin pressures prompting shift
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Hospital chief financial officers and senior finance executives often are involving themselves in the operational minutiae of their institutions because substantial savings can be had.

For example, Gail Robbins, the administrative director of financial planning for Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Mass., inserted herself into a dispute between the surgical staff and sterilization team to save time on the turnaround of surgical instruments. "Added up, it saves time, it saves money," Robbins told CFO magazine.

The pressures of implementing the Affordable Care Act and the changes being driven by the reform law also are prompting hospital CFOs to take a much closer look at forecasting revenue, particularly as operating margins are expected to narrow, according to the magazine.

"The CFOs of the future really have to figure out how to make ends meet with a different reimbursement scheme than fees for services," said Michael Lachina, M.D., chief medical officer of Saint Francis Healthcare in Tennessee, according to the Memphis Daily News. "There are major changes coming."

That has prompted executives such as Robbins to install software systems that allow her to monitor the hour-by-hour operations of the hospital's emergency room, as it is both a major profit and cost center.

"If the doctor is above average in ordering MRIs, I generate a report so that our hospitalist can have a conversation with that doctor," Robbins told CFO. "If you can't measure it, you can't change it."

For more information:
- read the CFO Magazine article
- here's the Memphis Daily News article

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