Financial challenges lead hospital CEOs' list of top concerns

Financial challenges remain hospital CEOs' top concern, the American College of Healthcare Executives' (ACHE) annual survey found.

"It is not surprising that financial challenges and health reform implementation are on the minds of hospital CEOs," Deborah J. Bowen, president and CEO of ACHE, said in the survey announcement. "In addition, both government mandates and patient safety remain top priorities as CEOs and leadership teams work hard to improve patient care and redesign care delivery as they face a challenging reimbursement climate."

ACHE sent the survey to 1,091 community hospitals (nonfederal, short-term, nonspecialty hospitals) with member CEOs, 388 of whom responded, ranking  the top four issues affecting their hospitals as follows:

  1. Financial challenges: Government funding cuts, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement issues, bad debt, decreasing inpatient volume, increasing costs for staff and supplies, and competition from other providers were some of the top financial challenges CEOs face.

  2. Healthcare reform implementation: CEOs felt pressure around reducing operating costs, aligning provider and payer incentives, shifting to value-based purchasing, working with physicians more closely and regulatory/legislative uncertainty affecting strategic planning.

  3. Governmental mandates: CMS audits, implementation of ICD-10 and CMS regulations topped the list of concerns.

  4. Patient safety and quality: Engaging physicians in improving the culture of quality, redesigning care processes, pay for performance and redesigning work environments to reduce errors were the top patient quality issues

Other CEO concerns listed included care for the uninsured, patient satisfaction, physician-hospital relations, population health management, technology, personnel shortages and creating an accountable care organization.

Since finances are hospitals' top challenges, system and organizations plan to hire and retain CEOs with finance--not healthcare--experience, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Two-thirds of hospital CEOs hired in 2014 will come from a non-healthcare background, according to a Black Book Rankings poll of more than 1,400 human resource professionals at healthcare organizations.

To learn more:
- read the survey results