Health Care Finance: Assignment Week 4
Case Study: Chapters 9 to 12.
Objective: The students will complete a Case study assignments that give the opportunity to synthesize and apply the thoughts learned in this and previous coursework to examine a real-world scenario. This scenario will illustrate through example the practical importance and implications of various roles and functions of a Health Care Administrator. The investigative trainings will advance students’ understanding and ability to contemplate critically about the public relations process, and their problem-solving skills. As a result of this assignment, students will be better able to comprehend, scrutinize and assess respectable superiority and performance by all institutional employees.
ASSIGNMENT GUIDELINES (10%):
Students will critically measure the readings from Chapters 9 to 12 in your textbook. This assignment is planned to help you examination, evaluation, and apply the readings and strategies to your Health Care organization, and finance.
You need to read the article (in the additional weekly reading resources localize in the Syllabus and also in the Lectures link) assigned for week 4 and develop a 3-4 page paper reproducing your understanding and capability to apply the readings to your Health Care organization and finance. Each paper must be typewritten with 12-point font and double-spaced with standard margins. Follow APA format when referring to the selected articles and include a reference page.
EACH PAPER SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
1. Introduction (25%) Provide a brief synopsis of the meaning (not a description) of each Chapter and articles you read, in your own words that will apply to the case study presented.
2. Your Critique (50%): Case Study
To say hospital and health system operating margins are different today than they were a decade ago may be an understatement. Medicare reimbursement reductions, cuts to state Medicaid programs and rising tides of uncompensated care have created an atmosphere where some hospitals, particularly smaller, community hospitals, are simply happy with a break-even balance sheet.
The environment is unlikely to change in the short term. The super committee was unable to reach a bipartisan agreement to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years, and it will cause sequestration cuts of 2 percent to Medicare starting in 2016.
While 2012 may appear to be a grim time for hospitals to keep their finances positive, there are several things hospitals can do to go beyond just maintaining solvency. Hospitals and health systems essentially have two options: They can either cut costs or create new revenue streams. Here, several healthcare leaders share their thoughts on how this can be done and offer one recurring theme: Hospital and healthcare leadership needs to evaluate a multitude of planes rather than relying only on across-the-board savings cuts.
1. Focus on the continuum of care. One of the biggest changes occurring in healthcare is the full-scale shift away from fee-for-service and volume-based measures toward accountable care organizations and quality-based measures. Ann Pumpian, CFO of Sharp Healthcare in San Diego, says hospitals will need to look at the entire continuum of care, regardless if they join an ACO, if they plan to stay profitable in 2012 and beyond. She says the continuum of care hospitals need to focus on includes the initial admission, how services are provided within that admission to create the most efficient process for a quick yet appropriate discharge, a discharge to the appropriate post-acute setting and follow-ups with that discharge.
Pearson Talbert, president of Aegis Health Group, says hospitals can take it one step further by fostering stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with physicians — especially primary care physicians. In addition to quality- and value-based principles, healthcare reform is also centered on preventive care, managing chronic illnesses and keeping people healthy before a hospital trip is required. To do that while staying profitable, Mr. Talbert says hospitals must focus on physician alignment and actively engage with the primary care physicians in their communities. "The primary care physician is the air traffic controller for the patient," he says.
Ms. Pumpian also emphasizes the hospital-physician relationship. Although some states prohibit hospitals from employing physicians, she says hospital efficiency and solvency hinges on a hospital's affiliation and collaboration with physicians. Physicians facilitate patients through the continuum of care, and next year, it will be paramount for hospitals to keep and recruit high-quality physicians who increase a hospital's referral base, have high ratings of patient satisfaction and have the highest commitment to quality patient care. "What is key is to make certain that these physicians and institutions are going in the same direction," Ms. Pumpian says. "Both need to be incented to do the same thing, which is what's best for patient care."
2. Design models to reduce readmissions. Hospitals that realign their goals toward the entire continuum of care can then focus on one of the more pertinent aspects: reducing readmissions. Readmissions negatively impact a hospital's bottom line in several ways, such as the high costs associated with them and scrutiny from private health insurers and patients. Now part of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform, hospitals with high levels of preventable readmissions face the potential of losing a portion of their Medicare, Medicaid or other governmental reimbursements. "If [other hospitals] are not gearing up for that now, they are really behind the eight-ball," Ms. Pumpian says. "They should've been doing this years ago."
She says there are several ways hospitals and their physicians can effectively reduce their readmissions, such as ensuring patients attend post-acute office visits routinely after discharge and overall providing resources to people to ensure they are taking the proper post-discharge steps. "This has proven to be a key indicator to keep readmissions from occurring," Ms. Pumpian adds.
Scott Downing, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer at VHA, says a hospital's preparation for the readmission risk is "absolutely critical," and much of the responsibility will fall on a hospital's case management and preventive care staff, who will need to be properly trained and managed to ensure overall readmission rates go down. "A hospital's case management [staff] has to engage in conve