The healthcare sector is not only changing tremendously due to the Affordable Care Act, ICD-10 compliance and meaningful use regulations, but it is attempting to meet tremendous financial challenges on its horizon. Financial penalties abound, as facilities that commit HIPAA violations are always fined. Also, a new penalty will go into effect soon, during which hospitals are fined for having a higher than standard readmission rate for their patients.
Recently, the Boston Children's Hospital had to cut jobs for healthcare workers in order to cut some of their spending and alter their budget, showing just what kind of impact the new regulations are making on the medical industry.
The online publication CFO discussed how all of these changes are leading to an evolved role for the Hospital Chief Financial Officer. These professionals must make a number of operational changes in order to save time and money at their medical facility. For instance, at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the operating room was having trouble with the sterilization team, which returned tools that were broken or in a negative state.
"In our operating rooms," Gail Robbins, Jordan Hospital's administrative director of financial planning, "scrub nurses put tools in a basin, put the basin on a cart, stick the cart in the elevator, and send it down to the sterilization team. Everyone was frustrated. The [operating room] was getting surgical kits back from sterilization and things were broken. The sterilization team was saying it was getting stuff from OR in a bad state, with heavy instruments tossed on top of delicate stuff."
It turned out that the operating team was sending the cart with surgical equipment down the elevator with the handle facing inward. The surgical department was spending too much time trying to get the cart out of the elevator. By fixing the way the cart was sent down, the CFO was able to save the facility time and money. These changes and other large-scale improvements are necessary to keep costs down and improve patient care.