If Healthcare Was a Sport, Would It Be Football?

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If healthcare was a football team, would it be the New Orleans Saints? And which Saints team would it be? The 2009 team that won the Superbowl? The 2012 team that didn’t make the playoffs,  its head coach forced to take a year off for his role in issuing a bounty on opposing players? Or maybe the 1980 Saints that went 1-15 for the year, one of the worst records in football history?

Like a football team, the healthcare industry has had its ups and downs over the years. But next year’s team will face challenges unique in the history of the industry.” ”Lest we forget, the Affordable Care Act stands ready to enforce the greatest changes to the American healthcare system in several generations,” new Healthcare Finance Management Association Chairman Steven Rose told attendees at organization’s Annual National Institute (ANI) in Orlando yesterday.

Football was certainly a theme, with Saints quarterback Drew Brees signing autographs on behalf of one of the exhibitors and former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs providing the day’s keynote address.

But football aside, leadership at HFMA expressed optimism regarding the future of healthcare, but tempered with heavy doses of realism.

“I can’t think of time when there has been greater challenges, greater change, greater uncertainty, greater risk, greater opportunity, greater hope for reform for a United States’ health system that is better than it is today,” said outgoing HFMA Chairman Ralph Lawson in his farewell remarks.

But Lawson was certain of one thing. The people who will reform healthcare “are in this room, not in Washington,” he said.

Lawson’s slogan for HFMA during his year as chair was “Leadership Matters.” He echoed that theme in his departure speech. “Thank you for allowing me to lead, it’s been a humbling experience,” he said. “As you lead the United States through reform of this system, remember to take the time to mark the path to show others the way, because your leadership really does matter.”

Lawson introduced his successor, Steven Rose, whose theme for the year is “Whatever it takes.” Rose also was realistic about the future of healthcare in the United States. “I wish I had easy answers. I wish that I could say we were about to enter a period of relative calm and stable growth in our industry.” The audience chuckled.

“I’m here to challenge you even further in times that are already challenging,” he said.

It is a challenge that revenue cycles cannot face alone. One growing trend, he said, is that healthcare providers, physicians, and payers will be forced to work more closely together. As a reflection of that new paradigm, the HFMA Executive Board has two new members who are physicians, and two members who have ties to the payer industry.

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Posted in Medical Receivables, Patient Access, Patient Experience, Patient Financial Services .

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