The essential skills of a health system CFO: 3 finance chiefs weigh in

The role of hospital and health system CFO is evolving to encompass far more than crunching numbers. Healthcare finance chiefs are taking on more strategic roles that require a combination of analytical skills and people skills.

The shift in the CFO role is clear, with 52 percent of CFOs, including those from hospitals and health systems, spending more time on strategic issues, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2015 CFO Outlook survey.

The role of health system finance chief requires a different skill set than in the past. Becker's Hospital Review had the opportunity to catch up with three financial leaders from hospitals and health systems who weighed in on the essential skills a health system CFO needs to be successful in today's healthcare market.

Rhonda Anderson, senior vice president and CFO, Ascension Health (St. Louis): "As the healthcare industry moves to a fee-for-value payment system, CFOs have to be open to the disruptive environment and look at the ongoing changes as an opportunity. To respond to this landscape, CFOs should be comfortable and flexible with seeking strategic partnerships and building relationships with other providers, health systems and payers."  

Amy Floria, CFO, IU Health Goshen (Ind.) Hospital: "Health system CFOs must be strategic in thought and nimble in action. We must think three and four steps ahead due to the pace of change in healthcare. The pace is exhausting but CFOs must be nimble and proactively respond to anticipated changes without deviating from the system's key strategic objectives. In addition, a CFO must be an excellent communicator and be able to explain the path the system is navigating. We need to be able to explain the 'why' behind the system's strategy."

Daniel Morissette, CFO, Stanford (Calif.) Health Care: "A CFO still must have strong technical skills and experience in this complex healthcare environment. Additionally, strong communication skills, demonstrated success partnering with physicians and other executives, and examples of creativity in decision-making are equally important. The role of the CFO is clearly evolving, and the combination of strong analytical skills and people skills are more important than ever."

More articles on healthcare finance:

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Georgia hospital to reopen after securing last-minute buyer


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