South Florida Hospital News
Monday August 19, 2019
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July 2019 - Volume 16 - Issue 1

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Ensuring Quality Patient Care Every Step of the Way

From a financial and revenue perspective, there are several competing factors that go into running a successful non-profit health care system while also meeting the growing and varied needs of patients. With a budget of $1.2 billion, Broward Health is one of the largest public health care systems in the nation and, as with any organization of this size, we face a myriad of challenges. From predicting the needs of a broadly diverse patient population to navigating external factors, such as fluctuating federal and state funding and evolving payer models, the challenges large systems now face demand constant institutional introspection to foster growth and positive outcomes.

Delivering high-quality, patient-focused care is our single greatest priority. It requires striking a balance between shrewd investments and implementing the necessary operational measures to ensure efficiency and efficacy. To enhance our growth strategies, for example, we have invested in new patient facilities and expanded existing ones, while further developing our robotic surgery capabilities.
 
Enhancing and improving the patient experience starts with leadership, which must be embedded in every facet of the organization, including and especially finance. That means more than simply making sure the numbers add up; it requires hands-on management. An accessible, knowledgeable CFO should not only be able to ensure financial acuity, but also understand the multiple, often-fluid variables that drive revenue; how to meet desired revenue goals; and why these numbers matter in the larger picture.
 
To maintain the same standard across all Broward Health hospitals, we employ educators and other professionals who routinely conduct site visits to foster cohesive patient experiences. For example, an educator visits our hospitals once a week to help standardize processes and procedures, while another focuses on customer service to ensure the patient experience meets the same high-quality standards—no matter where in our system patients receive care.
 
Ultimately, that means the CFO must be part of the larger, cohesive team to help maintain critical focus across a broad organizational spectrum. There must be consistency in resource allocation and decision making based not only on financial considerations, but also on data-driven, patient-centered insights that enhance the quality of care we provide.
 
Such consistency must also be maintained across spending. To be successful, organizations must implement standard revenue cycle management processes and procedures that ensure systems are reimbursed appropriately for the services performed. To achieve this fundamentally important goal, Broward Health created revenue cycle committees across the system to develop and enforce best practices from the moment a patient schedules an appointment to when they receive and pay their bill. In addition, we have launched a scorecard system that checks the revenue cycle and overall processes. We focus on patient access, thoroughly screening patients and helping them qualify for Medicaid or Medicare funding, if applicable.
 
From the moment a patient steps through the doors of one of our hospitals, it is our job to provide them with the highest-quality care and positive, seamless experience. The new realities facing non-profit hospitals—escalating costs, reimbursement reductions, and the shift from volume- to value-based care—need to be met with an outcomes-based financial model. The model must influence data to maximize reimbursement while leveraging the latest technologies and advancements in medicine to deliver the highest quality of care for our patients.

Alex Fernandez is Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Broward Health.

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