The Department of Health and Human Services threw down the gauntlet in late January when Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced its intention to increase value-based purchasing dramatically in the next few years.

HHS plans to move its payment system to 30 percent value-based in 2016 and 50 percent by 2018. It also plans to have 95 percent of fee-for-service plans include some sort of value and efficiency components by 2018. Read the article in its entirety.

University of Chicago Medicine has launched a study to see what it would take for the prominent South Side institution to open an adult trauma center of its own.

The study, launched in late January, also will identify other needs. They include addressing capacity issues at the three-hospital Hyde Park campus. U of C estimates it would need 35 beds for trauma patients, but few empty beds are available for the specialized care trauma patients would need. Read the article in its entirety.

In this Business Profile, Doug Fenstermaker, managing partner and executive vice president of health care, Warbird Consulting Partners, shares strategies to leverage outsourced CFO expertise to lead special projects or fill interim roles while recruiting is underway. Read the article in its entirety.

Who is going to break the news when an audit takes a bad turn or there is a breakdown in a negotiation with a payer? The CFO, of course. There is no way to make bad news sound good, but, according to CFOs who have been there, it is possible to soften the blow. Read the article in its entirety.

In 1982, Chuck Weis took his first steps inside the financial department of Sinai Health System, a safety-net provider on the South Side of Chicago. He was Sinai’s assistant controller at the time, but his public accounting background helped him ascend into the CFO role only four years later. Read the article in its entirety.

It’s no secret that hospitals have been getting much friendlier with one another lately.

Consolidation activity in the healthcare industry has been accelerating for several years, driven by changes in reimbursement, spikes in the rate of the uninsured and major shifts on the horizon in light of government health reforms. That’s led systems small and large to buddy up in partnerships ranging from simple clinical affiliations to corporate mergers and sales. But, one type of transaction may be picking up in popularity: non-profit hospitals and health systems partnering with private equity firms.

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Humans are creatures of habit — one need not look further than our daily routines in the morning to confirm this.

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Whether ambulatory surgery centers are looking into expansion projects or want to sell their ownership outright, refinancing is a very viable, and potentially lucrative, option for the future.

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Relationships between healthcare organizations and physicians are a growing trend within the industry as more doctors become employees of hospitals. Building healthy working relationships between the two factions is important, says David Ebel, who retired from the Mayo Clinic in 2006 after having spent 19 years in finance and 10 as CFO. “In the past it was easy: Doctors knew how to practice medicine, admins knew how to run a hospital. But they aren’t two separate things. The two groups need to come together to work towards making changes for ACO, Medicare, readmissions and reducing cost from the system,” said Ebel. “Besides, I’d rather have a physician decide where we can economize in the care that we receive more than an admin!”

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In his book Winning, General Electric’s Jack Welch famously griped: “It sucks the energy, time, fun, and big dreams out of an organization. It hides opportunity and stunts growth. It brings out the most unproductive behaviors in an organization, from sandbagging to settling for mediocrity.”

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