Plante Moran's 2012 U.S. Hospitals and Health Systems Outlook Calls for Strong Leadership in an Industry “In Flux”


SOUTHFIELD — Plante Moran, PLLC, one of the nation’s largest public accounting and business advisory firms and an advisor to more the 1,800 health care entities, today released its 2012 U.S. Hospitals and Health Systems Outlook. Calling for strong leadership in the upcoming decade of patient empowerment, Matt Weekley, CPA, Plante Moran’s National Healthcare Practice Leader, says the pressure on hospitals and health systems in particular is intense.

“Hospitals and health systems are the largest single category of healthcare spending. As the controversy over healthcare reform continues and federal lawmakers tackle the federal deficit, the quality of care,  finances and operations of organizations that serve the most acutely ill and injured patients are under a microscope,” affirms Weekley.

Adding to the pressure is the fact that more than half of health expenditures are paid by state and federal dollars, yet over the past decade hospitals overwhelmingly report losses on this book of business.

“What other industry could accept this as the norm while aiming to construct long-term strategies?” asks Weekley.

Contributing to the challenges of 2012 are the upcoming Presidential and Congressional elections, implementation of the Affordable Care Act juxtaposed by its multi-state repeal efforts and pending Supreme Court review, and lower reimbursement rates accompanying increasing government mandates. 

The result is an industry in flux. Still, the Plante Moran Outlook notes that hospitals and health systems can emerge as healthy organizations if they are able to meet the following key conditions:

  • Transitioning from a curative to a patient-centered model.
  • Emphasizing a revenue cycle core competency in addition to the primary competency of patient care.
  • Placing technology initiatives like Electronic Health Records (EHR) implementation, with its ultimate goals of improving the patient experience and the accuracy and efficiency of services, at the top of the agenda for healthcare leaders, regardless of financial incentives or penalties.
  • Actively seeking partnerships that will enhance patient care and deliver opportunities for addressing the population management model for chronic conditions.
  • An openness to non-traditional mergers and acquisitions to help organizations stay competitive and gain access to capital during this transition time.

Creating an environment that can respond to drastic change in how a hospital views, tracks and records revenue from payor sources, taking into account increased patient responsibility for the healthcare dollar.

Weekley offers that hospital and healthcare system survivors will be those who adopt solutions that can navigate sweeping change.

“It’s a two-pronged approach. Those that can respond to the challenges and constraints brought by healthcare reform while still making meaningful contributions to the health and well being of the communities they serve will be the victors in 2012 and beyond,” says Weekley.

To read the complete Plante Moran 2012 U.S. Hospitals and Health Systems Outlook, please visit Outlook.