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CFO Exchange: Healthcare Leaders Share 5 Innovative Ideas

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media, August 18, 2014

At HealthLeaders Media's fourth annual CFO Exchange, five financial leaders shared innovations on how to improve care while driving down costs. Their stories ran the gamut of hospital functions, from financial to clinical to operations.


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As the healthcare industry evolves at a record pace and top leaders look for solutions to their most challenging issues, 42 financial executives from hospitals and health systems around the country gathered at the Grand Del Mar in San Diego last week for HealthLeaders Media's fourth annual CFO Exchange.

During the breakfast session on Friday morning, five attendees shared innovations from their organizations on how to improve care while driving down costs. Their stories ran the gamut of hospital functions, from financial to clinical to operations.

1. Integrating Behavioral Health

Greg Pagliuzza, chief financial officer at UnityPoint Health - Trinity in Rock Island, IL, says his organization is making big strides in its efforts to better manage the care of patients with behavioral health issues.


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About seven years ago, Trinity began working with the state of Illinois on a Donated Fund Initiative to reduce the utilization of services and readmission rates for patients who have both behavioral and medical diagnoses. 

Citing data from a study conducted in 1999, Pagliuzza says, "There is definitely a correlation that shows if you have a behavioral issue, you are going to have more medical issues. … There is a higher readmission rate for these patients."

By providing counseling and care coordination services to this population, Trinity has achieved substantial results. ED visits among this group have dropped 50% over a ten-quarter period, which reduced Medicaid payments by 65%. Additionally, psychiatric admissions dropped 54% in the same time frame, cutting payments by 73%.

Pagliuzza says that as health systems begin to take on the financial risk of managing population health, these kinds of behavioral health programs will become increasingly important. 

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