Home and Abroad, CEOs Are Pulled in Many Directions

Healthcare Executive (ACHE)

Healthcare leaders around the globe face similar challenges. The International Hospital Federation’s 2017 study of the top priorities of hospital CEOs from 21 countries reveals some overlap with ACHE’s 2017 Top Issues Confronting Hospitals survey of U.S. community hospital CEOs. In both studies, CEOs reference a mix of financial, regulatory and workforce issues commanding their attention.

Following are highlights from these studies, accompanied by strategies for CEOs worldwide to help them lead with greater certainty.

Weathering Ongoing Financial Challenges 

Financial challenges are a top concern shared by almost all CEOs, although their priorities differ by location. Among ACHE survey respondents, 71 percent cited Medicaid as their chief financial concern. For international CEOs, the lack of access to capital is a key financial challenge, making it difficult to guide organizations through change, according to the IHF report. This also is a concern for U.S. leaders, although ACHE respondents rate mounting bad debt, increased competition, reduced managed care payments and the value-based care transition as more pressing.

Following are actions CEOs can take to combat their financial challenges:

Invest in revenue cycle strategies. Improved patient financial communications and more proactive, targeted collections practices can help organizations stave off the effects of high-deductible health plans.

Drive pharmacy and technology investment value. In the U.S. and abroad, providers and payers are exploring innovative ways to take more control over their pharmacy and supply budgets. For example, a group of U.S. hospitals is launching their own generic drug company. (See “The Transition to Value-Based Care: A CEO Roundtable Discussion” in the July/August 2018 issue of Healthcare Executive for more information.)

Internationally, technology assessments are being used to gauge products’ value. CEOs should follow the assessments’ evolution and engage clinicians in value analyses to help standardize technology.

Leverage risk-based models. U.S. providers’ volume-to-value transition has been slow. Yet, according to a 2017 Healthcare Financial Management Association survey, nearly three-quarters of senior financial healthcare executives said they achieved favorable financial results from value-based programs.

Hospitals should leverage their risk taking experience as they transition to other programs, including government led payment models, and CEOs should strengthen their strategic collaborations with providers to solidify their network across the continuum of care.

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