Dennis Dahlen, senior vice president of finance and CFO at Phoenix-based Banner Health
Healthcare finance executives have had more than their share of challenges to deal with in 2013. Which ones top the list? Based on the many conversations I've had with senior hospital and health system leaders this year, here are five biggies.
1. Revenue Cycle Management
The revenue cycle has reemerged as a major concern for finance leaders because collecting payment has become more challenging in 2013 thanks to the continuing growth of high-deductible health plans and a tougher denials environment with payers.
"Three years ago, I would have been in the camp that said that revenue cycle optimization seems like old hat. But the tactics have changed, and today the revenue cycle is all about denials management," says Dennis Dahlen, senior vice president and CFO at Phoenix-based Banner Health. "There are the RACs on the Medicare and Medicaid side and the commercial payers are now doing the exact same thing. Then we've got consumer-driven health plans and high-deductible policies. Now, it's not just fighting to be paid for every claim. You've got to fight with the payer for the claim, and then you've got to fight for the scraps that the patient is responsible for, and that's a whole different game. The tactics have changed, so we've got to change with it."