Accountable-Care Partnerships an Industry Priority under Healthcare Reform; ICD-10 Slips

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Following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold healthcare reform, healthcare finance executives will be placing a renewed focus on developing accountable-care partnerships and implementing other healthcare reform changes, according to a survey conducted at ANI: The HFMA National Institute conference, held recently in Las Vegas.

Close to half of healthcare finance executives (43 percent) said healthcare reform changes should be the top priority for the healthcare finance industry as a whole for the remainder of 2012 and, according to 49 percent of respondents, developing accountable-care partnerships, allowing healthcare businesses to share risk, help lower costs and improve quality, should be the top priority for providers. This despite the fact that only 56 percent agree that a strong accountable care organization network will trim spending, improving the bottom lines of clinics and hospitals.

"The priorities for the industry as a whole differ from the current priorities of individual organizations right now," says Mitzi Winters, president and CEO of Global Healthcare Solutions for Firstsource Solutions USA, which conducted the survey. "This, coupled with financial system overhauls, is creating an extremely complex environment for healthcare finance executives to navigate. Healthcare reform changes have taken precedence and ICD-10 conversions have been put on the back burner for the time being."

In light of the Supreme Court's decision on the healthcare reform law, 27 percent of executives surveyed said that technological solutions that simplify financial and administrative processes should be the top priority under healthcare reform, while 24 percent said working on their information technology infrastructure, readying themselves to participate in health information exchanges should be.

"Healthcare reform will undoubtedly create new priorities for the healthcare finance industry," states Brenda Snow, executive vice president, strategic planning and analysis, Firstsource. "Despite the unknowns, healthcare finance executives are shifting their focus to healthcare reform priorities."

While healthcare reform changes were cited as the top priority for the industry going forward, only 22 percent said it was the top priority for their organization at the current time. Twenty-eight percent of respondents indicated that meaningful use mandates were the top priority for their organization, followed by clinical and financial system conversions (27 percent). Only 3 percent of respondents said conversion to ICD-10 was currently a top priority for their organization.

Although survey respondents stated that developing accountable-care partnerships should be the top priority for the industry under healthcare reform, only 9 percent are currently focused on it. Additionally, more than half said that their organization was undergoing a technology overhaul of their financial system due to electronic health record system adoption.

Respondents also noted the benefits of social media, with nearly 70 percent agreeing that it is relevant to a hospital's financial operation.

SOURCE: Firstsource Solutions USA

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