Financial pressures drive big changes in hospital operations, affiliations

The topmost concern among community hospital executives is their finances and that will dictate how the industry targets and refocuses healthcare delivery in the coming years, according to Healthcare Finance News.

As a result, hospital executives will look to make changes in the following areas: Technology, physician integration and alignment, mergers and acquisitions, and narrow network development, according to an opinion piece by Austin B. Kirkland, principal of Outperform, LLC. 

Finances and financial challenges beat out the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), government mandates, quality improvement and care for uninsured and underinsured,  according to the most recent survey by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

The biggest financial challenges they face include receiving timely payments from Medicare and Medicaid, uncollectable emergency department charges and decreasing patient volumes. Executives also worry about competing hospitals, which prod them to make changes in how they operate their hospitals and systems.

Meanwhile, revenue bumps from the ACA have been slow to trickle into hospital coffers, according to a study issued last year by Moody's Investors Service.

Kirkland noted that hospitals take a significant risk when they embrace these new initiatives because they represent "enormous capital investments over and above the day-to-day financial challenges noted in the (ACHE) survey."

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare Finance News article 
- here is the opinion piece