For a hospital CFO, the COVID-19 crisis has shifted priorities and emphasized cost containment and innovation in reimbursement models. At the TransUnion Healthcare Virtual Health Finance Symposium last November, our session — The Evolving Role of Hospital CFOs — focused on strategies implemented and learnings derived from the perspective of top healthcare finance leaders.
This session featured:
- Penny Cermak, Former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Baylor Scott & White Health (moderator)
- Robert Dewar, Chief Revenue Officer, Geisinger Health
- Robert Naldi, President, Naldi Consulting and former Chief Financial Officer, Maimonides Medical Center
- Jeff Taylor, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, St. Luke's Health System
- Jon Vanator, President, IU Health Jay Hospital and Chief Financial Officer, IU Health East Central Region
The top takeaways from this panel discussion included:
- Implementing programs to ensure staff safety and job stability is essential. Such strategies have enhanced staff morale and engagement.
Intense cost containment and reduction efforts shouldn’t deter hospitals from growing and improving staff. Without a strong network of providers, long-term viability may be sacrificed.
Maintaining a rock-solid balance sheet is key to moving forward. Immediate efforts should be geared toward getting through the pandemic, with a focus on cost reductions, and moving high-utilization and high-cost populations into risk-based payment models.
Value-based care is necessary for cost containment. Without innovation in this model, health systems become overreliant on fee-for-service reimbursement from the volatile shifts in patient volume due to COVID-19.
Changes in technology and the rise of telehealth services will carry forward in the long term. Patients enjoy the convenience, safety and continuity of care offered by digital healthcare. From a reimbursement standpoint, there are still unknowns and inconsistencies from a payer/provider perspective.
It’s expected delayed mergers and acquisitions will escalate rapidly. You’re likely to see physician groups merging with hospitals or other large physician groups, as well as vertical integration of insurers and physicians.
Price transparency remains top of mind. It’ll be important to carefully implement price transparency initiatives that empower patients while balancing what information payers have access to.
Providing accurate payment estimation tools which enable patients to understand and finance their bills is critical. Overall yield can be improved via self-service care transactions that provide patients a more convenient way to pay.
A return to “normal” should leverage some pandemic learnings. This may include curbside pharmacy pickup, work-from-home opportunities, updated appointment scheduling and drive-thru testing areas.
Access the full discussion and view the other sessions on our Virtual Health Finance Symposium web page.