Healthcare Finance Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Healthcare Finance

In order to be successful in the present complex and frequently unfavorable business settings, a healthcare organization's strategic direction should be estimated, focused, and financially sustainable. Strategic business planning is an indispensable instrument to aid organizations focus strategic choices within the financial actualities of their environment. An efficient strategic business planning cycle includes making an evaluation, identification of business objectives, making strategies, performing an impact analysis and developing an execution plan. The important steps in strategic business planning comprises of conducting an assessment, identifying business objectives, making a strategy, carrying out an impact analysis, and developing an implementation plan. This procedure could include a one-to-three-year sequence and can be applied at the clinical service line or at the level of business unit level for a greater focused planning. The only certainty in the present healthcare environment is a constantly changing set of hypothesis regarding the future. (Bachrodt; Symth, 2004)

The assessment stage prepares the foundation for planning. Based on the specific market or concerns the intensity of analysis at the assessment changes. Nevertheless, at the least, three major spheres of analysis are required: future market scenarios, locating a financial outlook, and finding out strategic advantages and weaknesses. The crux of a strategic business planning is to secure, and if possible, enhance the financial condition of the organization, facilitating it to carry forward with its objectives into the future. What a hospital must ensure is that, it should develop a macro level financial model linked to its demand forecasts and based on "most likely" hypothesis of revenue and expense groups. Certain level of capital costs connected to infrastructure and essential instruments must be taken into in the base model. Including a standard component at this stage will assist in identifying scope for improvement and sensitivity analyses for assumption development. (Bachrodt; Symth, 2004)

Since business planning is concentrated on prioritizing future investments in the medical enterprise, it is important to transcend the income statement to the balance sheet, cash now statement, debt capacity, and availability of capital for the planning scenario. Through application of outside rating metrics, another stratum of credibility is added. Up to the level possible, the hospital must evaluate the financial performance of its clinical service lines, at the contribution margin level only. This evaluation will underline possible operating problems and set up a basis for assessing forthcoming investment capability. This overall financial model will assist the organization evaluate its anticipated future position against established performance metrics established by its board. Besides, the financial model will permit the hospital to measure the extent of financial impact from strategic plan needed to bridge the gap between anticipated baseline performance and preferred state.

As specific strategies, including any likely capital requirements, are developed, they should be supplemented to this model. Healthcare institutions must find out strategic advantages, opportunities, and weaknesses. These institutions must go beyond the frequently generic 'strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and vitally evaluate their present situations and capability to fulfill future market requirements. Strategic advantage emanates from favorable differentiation within the marketplace. A delineating strength may be a particular clinical problem, supportive pricing, or a meaningful service/quality measure. Several hospitals discover that their genuine strategic advantage is not as immense as they would desire it to be. (Bachrodt; Symth, 2004)

The first move for healthcare organizations is ensuring that the organization has processes in the right perspectives to provide the announcement for emerging technologies. Initial projections of the financial influence of these technologies aid in establishing the prioritization of research endeavors. Subsequently, the organization will ascertain the security and efficacy of each technology and make suitable coverage decisions. In case technology is covered, members cost-sharing are evaluated and benefit plan design is defined. Cost alleviation methods are also established, that could comprise administrative controls. The ultimate step is to revise preliminary financial forecasts to include coverage and policy decisions, member cost-sharing, and cost alleviation programs. Savings can be affected from proactive coverage decisions, care management tactics and more reliable forecasting of future costs. (Tourville, 2004)

The healthcare scenario is undergoing dynamic change. There are a lot of examples of miscalculations throughout the nation in reports of losses from physician practices, health plans and new business initiatives. Several healthcare organizations are discovering that the forecasts made at the initial stages were drastically different from the actual profits and losses. The American Hospital Association or AHA identifies these challenges. Due to this, it charged its…

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