The Benefits of Departmental Blurred Lines at Healthcare Organizations

Not too long ago, I wrote about how the role of healthcare CFOs have transformed from being “number crunchers” into strategic business partners within their organizations. A recent article in Becker’s Hospital CFO that focused on two specific healthcare CFOs who have more day-to-day involvement within their organizations, made me want to revisit and further explore this topic of cross-functional engagement.

With readmissions impacting reimbursement, Pamela Hess, CFO of Saint Thomas Midtown and Saint Thomas West hospitals notes that she has gotten far more involved in meetings and initiatives including quality and infection control. While these are not the places we traditionally think CFOs are involved, Hess says she has learned a lot.

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Today’s CFOs Are Strategic Business Partners

I have noticed recently a trend of healthcare CFOs transitioning from the stereotype of a behind-the-scenes number cruncher to key managers who are very involved in daily operations and strategic planning. A recent article in Healthcare Finance News highlights this point.

Today’s CFOs still have an eye for numbers, but their roles are greatly expanded. “They are on the front lines, working with the CEO to develop a strategic plan for their organization, and … to identify growth opportunities,” according to Paul Esselman of Cejka Executive Search.

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Sustainability in Healthcare is More Important Than Ever

Healthcare Finance News reported that according to a recent survey, “more than half of U.S. hospitals now make sustainability a factor in purchasing decisions.” Even more importantly, the survey found that over 80 percent of hospitals in the U.S. expect to engage in sustainability purchasing within two years.

And that’s not surprising given that a different study from The Commonwealth Fund (also reported in Healthcare Finance News), found that hospital sustainability efforts could save the healthcare industry up to $5.4 billion over five years and $15 billion over 10 years.

That’s a lot of dollars.

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You Get What You Pay For – There is More to Cost Than Price

Financial viability is the order of the day for hospitals and health systems. However, when looking for savings, a service or item that is the cheapest is not necessarily the lowest cost.

A recent HealthLeaders’ article, “Find Deeper Healthcare Supply Chain Savings,” which I referenced last week, looked at what a number of systems are doing in order to reduce costs in their supply chain. Main Line Health (MLH), a 1,295-bed health system with $1.4 billion in annual operating revenue was featured in the article because it has undergone an organization-wide initiative to reduce supply chain spending.

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