6 CFOs name their greatest challenges

Six hospital and health system CFOs share their biggest challenges with Becker's:

1. Jon Sohn, CFO of Glendale-based Ascension Wisconsin: "The greatest challenge we face is balancing the many factors — some within our control and many outside of our control — that allow us to sustain our mission of improving the health and well-being of individuals and communities while caring for those who are most vulnerable. These factors extend well beyond hospitals and health systems, and we know that we cannot address them singlehandedly. We view our role as leaders, advocates, partners and conveners in the ongoing search to find creative solutions to complex challenges faced by our patients, employers and communities."

2. Steven Mohr, senior vice president and CFO of Pasadena, Calif.-based Huntington Hospital: "One of our greatest challenges, specifically, is managing the pivot from inpatient to outpatient services. It is vital that we understand how we can expand ambulatory services into the communities we service that are patient-friendly, convenient, high quality and economically sustainable."

3. Jeff Crudele, CFO of Pittsburgh-based Allegheny Health Network: "Developing a deeper partnership with the operators and clinicians in order to help them lead the transition to the new operating models that are emerging in the industry, particularly the value-based models that are going to be required as the industry moves forward."

4. Robin Damschroder, executive vice president and CFO of Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System: "The greatest challenge in all of healthcare and at Henry Ford remains not just bending the trend on cost, but reducing the real total cost of care. The move to value and risk-based contracting shifted the paradigm from the old measures and metrics — be they financial or operational — that we used to hold ourselves accountable. It's a shift to get everybody focused on the total cost of care or cost per member per month when you're on the provider side and not just in the health plan world. We're fortunate at Henry Ford — [which includes HAP, a Michigan-based, nonprofit health plan] — to have both sides of an integrated delivery system and to be able to leverage our capabilities and the population health capabilities that we build around integrated care."

5. Daniel Smith, vice president of finance and CFO of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and senior vice president of finance for the Johns Hopkins Health System: "I think one of the toughest challenges we have in the finance world is to develop a return on investment on many initiatives that provide the same or similar clinical outcomes. All organizations are striving to improve the health and well-being of our communities, and so often our initiatives lend themselves to that improvement. But there are so many initiatives for which it’s difficult to say, 'This initiative has yielded this outcome.' So, working with the organization, you may be making investments that you can’t explicitly put an ROI on, but you know it’s the right thing to do for the patients, and you know that by making this investment you’ll reduce the cost of care. Measuring the greater outcome — are we improving the health of our community? — is a significant challenge."

6. Jeff Froisland, CFO of Mayo Clinic's Phoenix, Ariz., campus: "Where I'm in the Phoenix market, I think it's the constant evolving nature of external disruptors, whether that be mergers, consolidations, horizontal or vertical. It really changes healthcare from that of patients can choose to go where they want to one where they're much more being steered into a certain decision-making process. So, it's a constant challenge for the organization to stay focused on, not just the internal operations, but what externally is happening in the market and our response to it."


More articles on healthcare finance: 

Washington state surprise-billing law takes effect at end of month
6 CFOs name their greatest challenges
For-profit hospital stock report: Week of June 24-28

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