Morris County Hospital CFO's advice for his peers: Prepare for change and sharpen your customer service skills

Critical access hospitals are a vital component of rural communities, but a combination of demographic, economic and technological factors make it difficult for these facilities to maintain solid financial footing.

We asked critical access hospital CFOs to share the biggest challenges they're facing and to offer advice to their peers. Here's what Ron Christenson, CFO of Morris County Hospital in Council Grove, Kan., had to say.

Question: What is the greatest challenge facing critical access hospital CFOs today?

Ron Christenson: Cash flow is my number one challenge. In an era of shrinking reimbursement levels, assuring that there are no hiccups, log jams or any issues in the revenue cycle is crucial to keeping an optimum level of cash flow for the facility.

Q: What is the most important piece of advice you could give to other hospital CFOs?

RC: Find out what your true cost of delivering healthcare services are. Be prepared for changes that are inevitable surrounding the delivery, and payment of healthcare services. Everyone is screaming about the high cost of healthcare today. Everyone wants access, but no one wants to have to pay for it.

Q: What skills are essential for a hospital CFO in today's healthcare climate beyond traditional financial and business acumen?

RC: Customer service skills will continue to become more important exponentially as the healthcare industry evolves.

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