How Henry Ford Health System turned around its finances in 2014

Nonprofit Henry Ford Health System, a five-hospital network based in Detroit, bounced back from financial troubles last year when it posted net income of $27.8 million, up from a $12 million loss in 2013.

Henry Ford CEO Nancy Schlichting told Crain's Detroit Business she expects the system to continue posting positive financial numbers for the next several years as the system will benefit from its new $353 million Epic EMR system and as Medicaid expansion fully takes effect in Michigan.

Due to a number of factors, including the cost of installing a new EMR system, Ms. Schlichting told Crain's Detroit Business "The losses were somewhat expected" in 2013. However, the EMR investment is already paying off for the system as it helped Henry Ford cut costs by $65 million in 2014, according to the report.

Henry Ford's focus on growing its outpatient care business is also helping the system in its financial turnaround. Although its inpatient admissions fell slightly in 2014, Henry Ford's return to surplus was largely attributable to an increase in its net patient service revenue, which includes revenue from inpatient and outpatient facilities. "We are not trying to grow inpatient care," Ms. Schlichting told Crain's Detroit Business. "The real growth is happening in the outpatient side."

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