The hot topics of HFMA 2017

The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) will hold its 2017 conference June 25-28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. In a year with new payment tracks for Medicare, additional bumps in the road on the path to value-based care and—potentially—an overhaul of health insurance coverage coming through Congress, what are healthcare finance leaders going to be focused on at this year’s conference?

HealthExec put that question to several presenters, exhibitors and attendees. Here’s what they had to say:

Scott Disch, MPH, national practice leader at Privia Health: “It’s always geared towards what’s the bottom line return on investment (ROI) on a lot of things. They’re probably not looking for the newest technology, they’re looking for how do you still straddle the fence, where 90 percent of these accountable care organizations are still in upside-only deals. A lot of these health systems and hospitals are not getting into risk. They think it’s still going away. So there’s still this reaction like, ‘I don’t think we can underwrite or understand how to get an ROI out of this by sacrificing our current heads and beds, fee-for-service mentality.’”

Rick Ingraham, director of vertical markets, care payment and delivery at LexisNexis Healthcare: “I expect interest to be centered around sessions that address managing health delivery operations in a value-based reimbursement world and the stages of transition, operational changes to engage patients earlier and more effectively, like staff, resources and costs, and quantification and management of risk. Products and services that address improving health outcomes, optimizing financial performance and increasing patient engagement effectiveness and retention will be of interest to the finance leaders in attendance. Some of this will require and education for the attendees, so I expect many robust conversations that can embrace skepticism with innovation.”

Nicole Rogas, MBA, senior vice president of sales at Experian Health: “With the changes in payer reimbursement models, the providers will need to have better insight into a patient’s propensity to pay, since patients are taking on more costs for their care. Our finance leaders are realizing that their best opportunity to collect is before the patient walks in the door. For the first time, healthcare entities now need to think, not only as a service provider, but also as a business. They need to understand their patients and the best engagement strategies to reach them, as well as enabling them to be more involved with their healthcare experience.

“We need to help providers differentiate between patient engagement solutions and patient self-service solutions. Self-service tools are solutions like patient portals, self-service estimates, online appointment scheduling and on-demand financial assistance. These tools are touchpoints for patients and allow them access to things like their financial responsibility for services so they can financially clear themselves prior to the date of service. These types of self-service tools can reduce staff burden, as well as accelerate and encourage payment in advance while educating the patient on the cost of care.”

Alan Nalle, chief strategy officer at Patientco: “Successful healthcare leaders are positioning their organizations to succeed in a changing environment. With debate about the pace of change, continued payment plan proliferation and an uncertain regulatory and legislative environment, we expect leaders at HFMA to be talking about the initiatives that create value regardless of the variability driven by these events. We expect that delivering a superior customer experience, from access to clinical care to billing, will continue to be of prime importance for HFMA attendees.”

Todd Nelson, MBA, HFMA’s vice president of education: “Things like understanding patient financial communications, communicating pricing information to patients, getting the most out of the electronic health record (EHR) investment, understanding how new regulations such as the CCJR (Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement) model and other APMs (Alternative Payment Models) might affect them. There will also be a lot of discussion about analytics, business intelligence and pulling together clinical and financial information.”