HFMA ANI conference offers smorgasbord of hot topics

These days in healthcare, the bigger question may be "What isn't a hot topic?" rather than what is one. So I expect to learn plenty as a first-time attendee at the Healthcare Financial Management Association's 2010 ANI: The Healthcare Finance Conference in Las Vegas June 20-23. (Gambling doesn't really fire me up, but I'd traipse through the wilds of Borneo for a good healthcare story. Maybe.)

I'm a veteran of the long-term care market, and I got my first real taste of the hospital sector writing an e-book for FierceHealthFinance, RAC Audit Survival Guide: Strategies to Prevent Audits and Minimize Their Impact. With the fraud-fighting expansions included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), it's no surprise that the recovery audit contractors (RACs) will still be a high-priority topic for many conference attendees. The HFMA has included three conference sessions dedicated to dealing with the RACs and plans to release an issue analysis, "Accounting for RAC Audit Adjustments and Exposures," during the conference. (The association will post the paper on its website as well.)

In addition, the HFMA has launched an initiative to create industry-wide improvement in financial performance through an emphasis on revenue cycle excellence. The association has included multiple sessions to help providers get their revenue cycles firing on all cylinders.

Sessions on aligning costs and quality are likely to be popular as well given the direction the PPACA is pushing the entire healthcare industry. And no surprise--there are likely to be few empty seats in the many sessions designed to help providers understand the true impact of health reform.

In total, this year's conference offers more than 80 sessions to "deal with the top challenges facing our industry," says Debora Kuchka-Craig, the 2010-11 HFMA chair. So there will be plenty to ignite the interest of seasoned healthcare financial professions, as well as a few eager journalists! - Caralyn