The changing role of the hospital CFO

Hospital chief financial officers are becoming more involved in operations and long-term returns on investment rather than only the organization's day-to-day finances.

"The role of CFOs has changed over the last decade," Robert Cimasi, president of St. Louis-based Health Capital Consultants, told Curaspan Health Group, a patient management software company. "They're more and more involved in strategy, and there's less of a focus on immediate results."

The financial pressures coming to bear on hospitals in the wake of the Affordable Care Act are prodding CFOs to become more involved in daily operations, according to CFO Magazine,. For example, Gail Robbins, the finance chief at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Mass., is focused on operations as minute as how tools are removed from the operating rooms.

Robbins needs to know such operations because of differing payments from insurers for the same procedures, along with the rise of accountable care organizations and the direct employment of physicians. In particular, she focuses on "what's being used to excess, where physicians are operating out of bounds of reasonable utilization rates," she told the magazine.

These pressures often prompt hospitals to better focus on the case management of patients, which, according to Curaspan, means many CFOs are studying the return on investment for such initiatives. The return on investment for case management can range between two to three dollars saved for every dollar invested, the article noted.

For more:
- here's the Curaspan article
- read the CFO article