HFMA ANI 2017 preview: ‘Healthcare finance has always been about change’

Policy uncertainty, changing reimbursement models and price transparency are just some of the topics expected to be discussed at the Healthcare Financial Management Association’s upcoming Annual National Institute, which runs from June 25 to 28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

The official theme of HFMA ANI 2017 is collaboration, with sessions focused on affiliations to build a population health network and how to engage physicians when how they’re being paid is being changed so rapidly.  

Like other major conferences in recent months, CFOs and revenue cycle professionals can also expect to hear plenty about what’s going on in Washington, D.C., and how the new administration’s policies could offer them opportunities—or give them headaches.  

HealthExec spoke to Todd Nelson, MBA, HFMA’s vice president of education, to see what attendees can expect to see and hear both and off the show floor next month.

HealthExec: How much discussion at the conference do you expected to be dedicated to the current efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?

Todd Nelson, MBA: The conference will be broad ranging following the theme of collaboration, which certainly includes sessions around the ACA. Whether focusing on impact of patient experience or financial responsibility, new or changing regulations, or anticipated clinical and financial impact, this will be a common thread throughout the event.

Outside of the ACA talks, what do you expect the hot topics or trends to be?

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.

The theme of this year’s ANI is “collaborating for the future.” What is changing in healthcare finance that makes this an appropriate theme in 2017?

Healthcare finance has always been about change, whether new delivery models, financing mechanisms, rules or regulations—success is usually achieved when collaborating with multiple stakeholders. HFMA has long discussed that placing the patient squarely in focus at the center of everything we do can only happen when hospitals and health systems work together with health plans, physicians and other clinicians.

Venturing over to the exhibit hall, what kind of new products solutions do you expect attendees to most interested in?

I expect they’ll see price estimation tools to help with price transparency and patient communication, analytics tools that help extract data, analyze and turn it into an easily digestible format, as well as different tools for understanding population health and alternative payment models. All of these combined with tools to improve standard revenue cycle operations, lowering cost of good acquisition and increasing access to capital.

The exhibition hall offers something for everyone in attendance. From tried and true companies with analytics, revenue cycle, cost containment, or accounting/consulting guidance, to newer start-up organizations wanting to test concepts in the marketplace there is a wide range of products and services to learn more about.

For past attendees, what will be new about the conference this year?

Attendees will see new interactive networking lounges with curated content, facilitated discussions and peer to peer networking. Also new this year, we have revamped the celebration and recognition portions of the program to focus less on the “pomp and circumstance” and more on the opportunity to celebrate accomplishments. The conference will have an increased international presence with delegations from HFMA U.K. and HFMA Australia being present as part of an international panel on global healthcare.

Finally, we have increased the innovation presence for the event with presentation from 10 healthcare start-up companies, running the gamut from clinical to financial and the intersection between the two, with a focus on encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit in attendees.