Becker's CEO + CFO Roundtable 2019: 4 Questions with Bradley Haws, Chief Financial Officer and Associate Vice President of Finance for University of Iowa Health Care

Bradley Haws serves as Chief Financial Officer and Associate Vice President of Finance for University of Iowa Health Care. 

On November 11th, Brad will serve on the panel "CFO Leadership: Strategies for a Successful Hospital / System" at Becker's 8th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place November 11-13, 2019 in Chicago.

To learn more about the conference and Brad's session, click here.

Question: What is going on right now?

Brad Haws: We are really focused on creating growth and capacity. Our system is full and patient demand is constantly growing (a good problem) but we must not grow for growth sake. We need to find optimal ways to grow. Specialty, geography, strategic partnerships are all immediate priorities.

Q: What is the single most important thing you need to do in your role? (I.e.: What do you have to be great at?)

BH: In my role, I feel like I need to be able to tell the “story” that the financial results portray. And, link that performance to what happens in the day to day life of our leaders. How can they impact what we are striving for and help us achieve our goals? Finance is only one scorecard of many. It is often the most common lens into performance as it is publicly required and easily measured, but what is the story behind the numbers?

Q: There is a lot to improve upon in healthcare. Of the many issues that hold your attention, what is the one you consider exceptionally imperative and urgent?

BH: I feel that we must consider the provider workforce and how to improve their satisfaction, passion, and energy for their work. Our systems and processes often take them away from what really drives their energies and makes them function in suboptimal ways. I believe that is reflected in their burnout and passions.

Q: Healthcare leaders today need skills and talents that span beyond those emphasized during formal training and higher education. What is one specific competency that you learned or sharpened in real life?

KB: Many have heard the Peter Drucker quote, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.” It is so true. AS we manage through strategic imperatives, challenges in the industry or market and strive to create change, we can’t forget the culture of the organization. Related and a close second is change management – those skills are essential to be a successful leader and I often feel that these are best learned through watching others or having a productive mentor.

Hospital leaders face increasing demands on their time and must continually prioritize where to
focus their efforts and energy. As I partner with hospital leaders, it’s important to assess the impact
and benefits of projects to help prioritize initiatives.
For example, everyone is paying attention to the rise in specialty drug costs. Yet often there is little a
hospital can do to lower their specialty drug spend. However, there are substantial cost savings
possible through an improved reimbursement strategy and medication utilization-based projects.
Not only would prioritizing these initiatives drive meaningful results, they also are within the
hospital’s span of control.
In addition, I find that hospital leaders can overlook the pharmacy in performance improvement
initiatives, so it is an ongoing education and advocacy about the pharmacy’s potential impact. The
pharmacy should be a center of innovation for a hospital – and innovation is key to expanding
services and improving care.

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