Nicholas Barcellona, Temple University Health System's financial mantra

Nicholas Barcellona serves as the chief financial officer at Temple University Health System. 

Mr. Barcellona will serve on the panel "The Best Path Forward for Value-Based Care" at Becker's 10th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the roundtable, which will take place in Chicago from Nov. 7-10, 2022.

To learn more about the conference and Mr. Barcellona's session, click here.

Becker's Healthcare aims to foster peer-to-peer conversation between healthcare's brightest leaders and thinkers. In that vein, responses to our Speaker Series are published straight from interviewees. Here is what our speakers had to say.


Question: What is the smartest thing you've done in the last year to set your system up for success?

Nicholas Barcellona: Temple University Health System leadership focuses on a strong partnership between clinical, operational and financial leaders which has resulted in historic operating margins and more than doubling days’ cash on hand over the last few years. Bond rating agencies took notice with the organization successfully achieving one- and two-notch upgrades from all three rating agencies and moving up to investment grade across the board with "BBB," "Baa3" and "BBB" from S&P, Moody’s and Fitch. As a result of all this positive momentum, the smartest thing the finance team has done this year was closing the $165.9 million TUHS Series 2022 tax-exempt bond issuance, which achieved $41 million in present value savings.

Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous?

NB: I am most excited about the new leadership team at Fox Chase Cancer Center who already are delivering tremendous growth while maintaining their history of providing exceptional patient care, service and discovery. 

I remain nervous about the continued pressure on labor costs where we are still experiencing elevated agency, premium pay and turnover levels. We have been reasonably successful at retention and recruitment due to multiple investments in employee programs, but staffing pressures continue for health systems throughout the country.

Q: How are you thinking about growth and investments for the next year or two?

NB: Financial success follows quality, and we stick to that mantra when evaluating any investments. Specific to the next few years, our challenge is making up for a lack of capital investment in a number of historical years which means we need to do double duty investing in both infrastructure and growth projects. This forces us to be relentless when reviewing strategic investments to ensure the return on investment is realistic, and more importantly to track performance after the project is approved to make sure we are delivering on the plan.

Q: What will healthcare executives need to be effective leaders for the next five years?

NB: Comfortable with change, and a strong passion for the mission. The pandemic significantly increased the pace of change in our industry, forcing everyone to think differently about how we deliver care, leverage technology, care for our employees, etc. Healthcare leaders need to be passionate about the mission to maintain the energy levels needed to weather the storms. The exciting part is I believe we will be shaping healthcare for generations to come in the next five years.

Q: How are you building resilient and diverse teams? 

NB: I find it starts by looking within, investing time developing and growing the leaders already in your ranks. Temple is committed to diversity, and the health system works closely with the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University’s Office of Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on multiple areas of focus including recruitment, retention and employee wellness.

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