CFO John Zell: Crafting Effective Budgets at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center

John Zell, CFO of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, Ill., has been with OSF Healthcare for several years, and he still learns from the evolving healthcare budgeting process to this day.

John Zell is CFO of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center.At the Becker's Hospital Review Annual Meeting this past May, Mr. Zell said one of the most difficult things in budgeting for a hospital's operations is trying to predict revenues and costs for service lines that are undergoing massive change and new physician employment models.

For example, OSF St. Joseph, like many other hospitals, has ramped up its physician employment strategy. Currently, it employs 30 primary care physicians and 30 specialists. However, that fluctuating mix of physicians changes the perspective on hospital service line mixes and the associated revenues and costs with them, he said.

Other major budgeting challenges include cost structures, the ambiguity of accountable care organizations and finding new ways to keep costs in check even more than they already are. "There's a difference between fixed and variable costs, but when the rubber hits the road, everything is a fixed cost up to a point," Mr. Zell said.

Mr. Zell earned his bachelor's of science from Illinois State University and his MBA from the University of Colorado in Denver. He is a certified public accountant with active licenses in both Illinois and Colorado.

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