Financial stress indicators for hospitals


JK: Regular reviews of financial indicators identify not only what is down and needs improvement, but also what is working. Hospitals owned and managed by CHCs examine data over time to develop operational best practices, support strategic planning efforts, create accountability, and reorient financial sustainability efforts when necessary. Clear communication of expectations and goals turns all parties involved into light carriers and active members of the team. Everyone participates in the most illuminating part of the review process, which answers the question “Why?” Only by establishing this interdepartmental culture of curiosity, and only through persistent questions and polls, can a hospital find and address the root causes of financial problems. It is a bit like a medical diagnosis when the symptoms point to a simple disease but the reality is much more complex. For example, if the volume of inpatient admissions is significantly lower in a current month compared to the same month in the previous year, the initial observation might be that there have been fewer cases of influenza. However, further investigation may reveal that there is more to the story. What were the main diagnoses of the patients admitted for each period? Have there been any abnormal trends among physicians? How do the observation days compare this month? Understanding trends and their causes is key to developing solutions that improve operating margins and reverse a struggling financial situation.

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