Why the CFO’s changing role could put pressure on hospital financial teams

The changing role of the CFO could require outside assistance in financial departments.

The chief financial officer's work is seemingly never done. This is true at virtually any organization, but it is particularly true in the health care industry. In an era dominated by news or health care reform where uncertainty reigns supreme, it's important for the CFO to maintain a firm grasp on their organization's finances.

Current health care trends mirror those in numerous organizations, both in the private and public sector. Business is becoming more integrated, meaning the CFO of a health care organization has to increase his or her involvement in all areas of the hospital. This was addressed in a Hospitals and Health Networks article that projected the future of the health care CFO. The article spoke to the number of changes in health care, ranging from regulatory measures to advancements in technology, and how corporate roles have had to adjust.

James Anderson, CEO at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, said he considers the CFO as a part of the executive team, meaning his responsibilities transcend the financial department.

"Integration is the key word," he said. "We just put a new strategic plan together and a major theme is integrating all of the components of the hospital to achieve our strategic goals. No department, including finance, can work in isolation."

Given the increased responsibilities of the CFO, there may be more pressure on financial employees in the billing and accounts receivable department to ensure they are running operations efficiently. While most organizations enjoy the benefits of a collaborative effort, some simply lack the internal resources needed to do so. In these instances, it might be helpful to rely on the help of a third party provider of financial services to ensure nothing is inadvertently ignored, such as low balance third party insurance claims.