How hospitals benefit from CFO/CMO partnerships

As economic models within healthcare change rapidly, chief financial officers and chief medical officers (CMOs) working in tandem can reap substantial rewards for providers, according to Healthcare Finance News.

The two positions are often at odds, particularly post-Affordable Care Act when the role of the CFO itself is shifting, but some providers have gotten better results through partnerships between the two. For example, at Oceanside, New York's South Nassau Communities Hospital, CFO Mark Bogen and CMO Linda Efferen have developed what they say is a mutually beneficial partnership. Although their different focuses might seem like they would put them at odds, Bogen told Healthcare Finance News, in practice they complement one another. Since the CFO is primarily focused on costs and the CMO on patient outcomes, Bogen said, more ground is covered between the two.

 "I'm always in a hurry to get to the financial component. I tend to be a little more straightforward in terms of wanting to move the agenda forward very quickly," he said. "She's got to look at it in terms of the various relationships and partnerships we have on the medical staff. She's very good at always wanting to make it a learning experience."

Over the last five years, Bogen said, people in the two positions have, by necessity, gained a better understanding of one another's jobs, more so than before. Similarly, University of Utah Health Care CMO Thomas Miller, M.D., says he finds himself spending more time learning the ins and outs of hospital finance while his CFO analyzes the School of Medicine's clinical needs.

"[O]ne of the best ways the CFO helps the chief medical officer is bringing forward new regulations, new mandates and new things coming out of the federal or state governments," he said.

These stories come at a tenuous time for hospital CFOs. At hospitals that have struggled financially, more than 60 percent of CFOs expect to lose their jobs by 2016, FierceHealthFinance previously reported.

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