Finances still top list of hospital CEO concerns

Financial challenges top the list of concerns for community hospital CEOs for at least the fourth year running, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives' (ACHE) annual survey.

Patient safety and quality placed second on the list of CEO concerns in 2015, followed by government mandates, ACHE said in an announcement. But concern about personnel shortages rose sharply from No. 10 last year to No. 4 this year.

The top five financial challenges cited by the 350 community hospital CEOs surveyed were:

  1. The transition from volume-based payments to value-based care payments
  2. Medicaid reimbursement (including adequacy and timeliness of payments)
  3. Bad debt, including uncollectible emergency department charges
  4. Increasing costs, including for staff and supplies
  5. How to reduce operating costs

"While financial challenges remain the top concern for CEOs, survey results suggest that senior leaders still have their eye on their organizations' financial strategy, and they are also making strides in moving forward patient safety and quality initiatives," ACHE President Deborah J. Bowen said in the announcement.

This year's survey marked the return of patient safety and quality to the No. 2 spot. In the 2013 and 2014 surveys, those issues were replaced by concerns about healthcare reform implementation, as FierceHealthcare previously reported.

Healthcare reform implementation didn't make the 2015 list. This time, government mandates were the No. 3 concern. The top issue within that category was ICD-10 implementation, which became mandatory in 2015.

Hospital CEOs' growing concern over staffing shortfalls comes as the healthcare industry tries to tackle an expected worsening of the nurse shortage. Hospitals are turning to innovative recruiting ideas, including signing bonuses and specialized nurse residencies, and looking to improve work environments to improve retention.

To learn more:
- here's the survey announcement