20 must-reads for hospital CFOs

Here are 20 articles published by Becker's Hospital Review this month that offer insight on hospital prices, Medicare appeals, bundled payments and more.

1. US healthcare system ranks 50th out of 55 countries for efficiency
The U.S. healthcare system is one of the least efficient in the world, ranking 50th out of 55 countries in 2014, according to the Bloomberg Health-Care Efficiency Index.

2. 20 financial benchmarks for hospital executives
A list of 20 benchmarks related to one of the most important areas hospital executives oversee — finance.

3. Fitch: Change in political environment could disrupt healthcare business models
Many major healthcare issues are hanging on the outcome of the upcoming presidential election, according to a Fitch Ratings report.

4. Study: Chargemasters still drive up revenue at US hospitals
Hospital executives and economists often argue chargemasters — hospitals' master price lists — are irrelevant to patients because most insurers do not pay the full list price. However, two authors of a study in Health Affairs — Ge Bai, PhD, and Gerard Anderson, PhD, both of Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins University — beg to differ. They set out to demonstrate that the chargemaster is still largely relevant, especially to a hospital's bottom line.

5. CMS to resume Medicare appeals settlements
CMS will again allow eligible hospitals to settle inpatient status claims currently under appeal.

6. BPCI hospitals drove down Medicare payments for lower extremity joint replacement by $1,166
In the first 21 months of CMS' Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative, participating hospitals lowered Medicare payments for lower extremity joint replacement episodes while maintaining quality, according to a study published in JAMA.

7. Does bad press for prices get hospitals to lower rates?
Health Affairs published a study of the top 50 American hospitals with the highest cost markups in 2015. This year, University of Miami researchers questioned 20 Florida-based hospitals that made the list to find how negative publicity affected their chargemasters.

8. 3 costly employment law traps CFOs should avoid
CFOs who oversee human resources at their organizations should pay attention to employment law issues, according to CFO.com.

9. Big Ten produced the most sitting CFOs: 5 things to know
The Big Ten Conference has produced more sitting CFOs of Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies than any other undergraduate university conference, with 75 sitting CFOs who attended Big Ten universities for their undergraduate education, according to a Crist | Kolder Associates report.

10. A year of ICD-10: Healthcare professionals weigh in
ICD-10 did not have the negative impact many industry stakeholders predicted. But coders' frenzied preparation for the Oct. 1, 2015 compliance deadline did have a silver lining for many healthcare organizations.

11. Medicare pays some hospitals double what it pays others for surgical complications
Complications after surgery are costly to a patient's health, Medicare and the healthcare system as a whole. However, a recent study in JAMA Surgery found complications at some hospitals are more costly to Medicare than at others.

12. 4 ways to recruit and retain skilled RCM staff
Revenue cycle teams are critical to the financial success of provider organizations. If one member of the team does not adequately perform their task, it can mean significant revenue losses for the organization.

13. Medicare audits up 936% in last 5 years
Recovery audit contractors are harnessing the power of big data and analytics to dramatically grow their auditing capabilities.

14. Quality Improvement Organizations resume two-midnight reviews
Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organizations resumed two-midnight rule claim audits after CMS temporarily paused the reviews in May.

15. RCM replacement and assessment on the rise: 8 survey findings
Many healthcare organizations are looking to replace their revenue cycle management systems, according to a survey from Black Book Market Research.

16. PwC: 31% of providers and 20% of employers have adopted healthcare bundles
Bundles are undeniably gaining traction in healthcare, with 83 percent of hospitals either interested in or already participating in these payments. However, there is still a "mismatch" between provider activity and employer needs, according to PwC's Strategy& annual bundled care survey of employers, hospitals and consumers.

17. More companies give prominence to GAAP accounting figures
Eighty-one percent of S&P 500 companies that reported financial performance since July 1 included results that conform with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles at the top of news releases outlining their financials. That's up from 52 percent that did so when reporting financial performance for the first quarter, according to an Audit Analytics analysis conducted for The Wall Street Journal.

18. CMS says providers can 'pick their pace' for MACRA: 6 things to know
CMS is offering flexibility to providers participating in the Quality Payment Program under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, outlining multiple options as to how they can participate in the first year.

19. 4 best practices for managing patient billing complaints
As patient satisfaction scores are increasingly linked to provider reimbursement, it's important hospitals resolve instances where patients report great clinical outcomes but negative experiences with billing.

20. Survey: Hospitals saw 10% increase in self-pay dollars in past 5 years
With the rising popularity of high-deductible health plans, hospital and health system executives must find effective ways to communicate with patients about their financial responsibility and develop strategies to ensure proper payment. Many executives have made strides in these areas, but there is still room for improvement, according to a Healthcare Financial Management Association survey sponsored by Parallon.

More articles on healthcare finance:

CFOs make leap from for-profit to nonprofit companies
Out-of-pocket burden for breast cancer treatment varies across US
Amid rising drug costs, states struggle to cover Medicaid costs

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