Sharpening your cost-cutting pencil

Lately, healthcare facilities have made some of the deepest cuts they've ever made--and then cut back again. Mass layoffs have become more common than at any point in recent memory, travel has been cut back, training budgets are down and even basic maintenance has taken a hit. If you're responsible for suggesting these cuts, you may wonder if you have to stop trimming the fat and begin sawing into bone.

Well, this year at ANI, there may be hope. Not only are there financing options to consider that may free up some cash (see related item), there's lots of good advice on how to keep your finances afloat just by avoiding financial mistakes. At seminars and on the show floor, pick up fresh advice on bedrock issues like how to cope with the switch to ICD-10 coding and how to set a fair value for physician salaries.

And of course, revenue cycle management vendors and collections agencies at the show will be happy to explain how they can speed up your cash flow. Now may be a good time to listen--maybe they have something new to offer, and you need every idea you can get, right? When it comes to accounts receivable, bear in mind that the federal government has its eye on your business practices--particularly if you're a non-profit--so super-aggressive collectors probably aren't good. But technology that helps patients pay their share of the bill, from kiosks to mobile applications to web-based payment, definitely gets our vote.