LifePoint CFO Mike Coggin focused on Kindred deal, cost management + more

Mike Coggin is the executive vice president and CFO of LifePoint Health, which currently operates 84 hospital campuses. 

Before becoming CFO in 2016, Mr. Coggin served as senior vice president and chief accounting officer for LifePoint, a position he held for about eight years. 

Before joining LifePoint, Mr. Coggin was CFO of Nashville, Tenn.-based Specialty Care Services Group.

Here, Mr. Coggin shares what he thinks is most pressing issue facing hospital CFOs, LifePoint's top financial priorities, his litmus test for evaluating potential partnerships, his proudest accomplishment as finance chief in the last year and advice for his peers. 

Editor's note: Responses were lightly edited for style and clarity. 

Question: What is the most pressing issue hospital CFOs are facing right now?

Mike Coggin: The national shortage of healthcare workers is a widespread and urgent issue impacting the industry as a whole. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many providers, nurses, clinical staff and other employees have left the workforce. This staffing shortage continues to put additional pressure on hospitals, including from a financial perspective, as they work to maintain services, bring patients back to their health system and continue providing high-quality care. 

Q: What are a few of LifePoint's top financial priorities for 2022?

MC: First, we are staying sharply focused on the things we can control from a financial perspective, including being disciplined about cost management and ensuring an efficient capital structure. Despite the challenges we faced throughout the pandemic, LifePoint is committed to expanding access to care for patients and seeking strategic opportunities to grow as an organization. With our pending acquisition of Kindred Healthcare, we will further diversify our business and expand our footprint in the postacute space. The transaction brings together LifePoint's national network of community-based hospitals, providers and access points with Kindred's expertise in delivering post-acute care and behavioral health services. We look forward to being better positioned to respond more comprehensively to patients' needs across the healthcare continuum. 

Additionally, we are focusing on driving innovation and transforming the company's approach to digital health. This includes investing in technology-enabled solutions to further improve quality, access and patient outcomes while lowering costs. As part of this, we are developing and expanding meaningful partnerships with companies that are helping to expand our capabilities to better serve our patients. 

Q: Based on your experience, what is the best way hospital and health system CFOs can evaluate organizations that contact them with interest to partner, affiliate or merge?

MC: For LifePoint, a few of the most important things we look for in a partner is ensuring that our organizations have a shared vision and goals; are aligned from both a mission and cultural perspective; and share a strong commitment to quality, safety and compliance. Without this solid foundation, it is difficult to have a mutually beneficial and successful partnership. Furthermore, it is important to carefully evaluate the intended purpose of the potential partnership in terms of how it can improve or expand the delivery of quality healthcare and contribute to the long-term success of both organizations. The partners must have a willingness to learn and collaborate and be fully committed to overcoming the inevitable challenges you will face along the way. Good communication and transparency will carry you through those tough moments.

Q: In the last year, what has been your greatest accomplishment as CFO?

MC: I am so fortunate to work with an incredibly talented and dedicated team at LifePoint Health. Thinking back on the past 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, we have seen — and continue to see — our people rise to meet every challenge that has come our way while keeping our patients at the center and our mission of Making Communities Healthier in focus. Each member of our team knows their specific role and responsibility and understands how it directly impacts our mission, which has helped our organization stay focused and on track while dealing with a global pandemic. I can honestly say there was never a question of if we would succeed during the darkest days of the pandemic, as we knew we had the right team in place to navigate it. I would say my greatest accomplishment in my role as CFO is having the opportunity to serve alongside such hard-working, inspiring and mission-driven individuals who truly put their hearts in what they do each day. 

Q: What advice would you share with other hospital and health system CFOs?

MC: I think navigating the COVID-19 pandemic has further proven how important it is to be able to manage through the noise and stay focused on your long-term vision. This requires a fair amount of patience, determination and grit when things are tough, but keeping your mission clearly in focus is the key to keeping your organization moving in the right direction. 

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