Blog

Rethinking Supply Costs: Good to Great

Many rural hospitals today — health care providers whose mission is to serve their community’s health care needs — are apprehensive about their own financial health. Increasing expenses, decreasing reimbursement and declining patient populations and hospital admissions place these hospitals at risk, threatening financial viability.

Behind salaries, supplies are the second-highest expense for hospitals. By reducing supply costs and better managing the supply chain, a hospital can move its savings margin from good to great.

CHC Supply Trust, the supply chain services arm of Community Hospital Consulting, works with hospitals...


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Negotiating Health Plan Contracts: Best Practice Tips

For hospitals, “care” typically refers to providing patient care. Yet a hospital’s financial health requires care and attention, too.

A sound financial strategy supports the provision of patient care and services communities need, and a significant component of healthcare organizations’ revenue frequently comes from health plan contracts.

So what do your health plan contracts look like? Have you reviewed them recently? Are there opportunities to modify those arrangements to maximize your reimbursement?

Here are some best practice tips for health plan contracting.

Review your health plan contracts regularly –...


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Billing and Collections: Whether or Not to Outsource

Many rural hospitals find it a struggle to achieve positive cash flow and maintain enough days cash on hand to meet their capital and operational needs. This intensifies the importance of ensuring that patient accounting processes, especially billing and collection, are performing at optimal levels.

One option many turn to for managing this process is to outsource billing and collections functions. This effort may be seen as a way to improve accurate and timely billing of patient accounts, lower costs, and improve collections. The CHC Consulting Revenue Cycle team is...


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Assessing Community Health Needs

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires not-for-profit hospitals to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) once every three years – and develop an implementation plan to meet community health needs. Finalized in 2014, the requirements surrounding a CHNA are very specific.

Whether or not your hospital has 501(c)(3) status – which triggers the need to complete a CHNA – conducting an assessment of the existing health needs within your community is a best practice both for your hospital and for the patient population you serve. The...


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Managing Organizational Risk: Ways to Keep Your Hospital Safe

In this era of electronic data, we’ve come to expect that personal information stored electronically will remain private, accessible only on a “need-to-know” basis to those you identify. But what happens when organizational data becomes available to others as a result of cyber attacks? As an industry, hospitals face particular challenges.

In fact, health care organizations top the list of the most cyber-attacked industries, followed by manufacturing, financial services and the government. Data breaches place private patient data at risk, and HIPAA standards and compliance audits don’t adequately address security...


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Executive Recruitment for Interim Management: Easing the Transition

Managing organizational change presents extraordinary challenges, particularly when the change involves replacing a chief executive officer following their departure. For smaller community hospitals in transition, interim leaders can help fill this gap. An interim executive may be someone close to retirement, a leader seeking a different work-life balance, or an experienced, skilled executive unable to relocate for a permanent role where travel is an option.

An interim can devote time and attention to their role alleviating work overloads on others, bring objectivity to a new assignment through an unbiased perspective,...


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Physician Engagement Strategies: The Role of Physician Liaisons

Physicians say that “feeling engaged” with a health care organization is crucial to job satisfaction, a finding documented consistently in survey research. And in a time of physician shortages and competition between hospitals and health systems to attract top physician talent, engagement can ultimately affect a doctor’s decision to stay in their current position or seek a new one.

Improved participation and buy-in among physicians can generate inpatient and outpatient referrals and help bolster the hospital’s image as a community-centered, leading-edge provider. When you engage physicians as partners, both parties...


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Board Communication, Teamwork, Spell Success at Yoakum Community Hospital

Leveraging Resources for Change

When I joined the Yoakum Community Hospital team in 2006, one of the biggest hurdles I faced was improving board-management relationships. I realized that addressing this challenge would be essential to paving the way for a better, more secure financial and operational future for the hospital and community. Elorine Sitka, Yoakum Board Trustee and Chair, shared this vision, and together, we turned ideas into reality.

As a 25-bed critical access hospital in rural Yoakum, Texas, it became apparent that trustees had not been receiving all the...


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Staffing and Productivity: Tips for Success

Hospital financial performance improvement seems relatively simple – it’s driven by decreasing costs and increasing revenue. In reality it’s quite complicated to optimize these factors while keeping quality care top of mind. One of the biggest challenges for hospitals is managing staff productivity, which means maintaining the right number and mix of clinical staff based on patient diagnoses and volume. Optimizing productivity is critically important because the cost of labor is the greatest expense for a hospital.

In our experience, almost every hospital has some room to improve staffing productivity....


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Best Practices for Effective Physician On-Boarding

You’ve successfully recruited the physician you need to serve your community. What comes next? The hiring process is just the first step in retaining these professionals you have worked so hard to recruit. Equally important is physician on-boarding — the process of familiarizing and orienting physicians to a new healthcare facility or practice, and to the culture of your organization. On-boarding introduces new physicians to the community, integrates them into the medical staff, helps them establish their practice and achieve a firm financial foundation in the first year.

The case...

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