Cutting costs top 2019 priority for healthcare finance execs & other survey findings

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Many senior finance executives are not fully prepared to manage the financial impact of evolving business conditions in today’s healthcare environment, according to a survey by strategic and financial consulting firm Kaufman Hall.

The survey, conducted in September and October, asked CFOs, vice presidents of finance, directors of finance, and other senior finance executives more than 20 questions to gauge performance management progress and trends. Participants represented more than 160 U.S. hospitals, health systems, and other healthcare organizations.

Five findings:

1. Only 13 percent of respondents said their organizations are very prepared to manage evolving payment and delivery models with the financial planning processes and tools now available.

2. Additionally, only 23 percent said they are very confident that their teams can quickly and easily adjust to strategies and plans.

3. Ninety-six percent of respondents said they believe their organizations should be making greater efforts to leverage financial and operational data as part of decision-making.

4. Cost reduction and management is the biggest priority for senior finance executives this year, followed by predicting and managing changing payment models.

5. Along those lines, more than half of respondents cited the following as top improvement priorities for financial planning and analysis:

  • Cost management and efficiency
  • Reporting and analysis to support decision-making
  • Operational budgeting and forecasting
  • Profitability measurement across specific dimensions



Former finance director gets prison time for stealing $3.9M from UNC hospital

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The former finance director for High Point (N.C.) Regional Hospital, part of Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health Care, was sentenced May 3 to 8.5 years in prison for embezzling $3.9 million from the hospital, according to the Department of Justice.

Kimberly Hobson worked in the accounting and finance department at High Point Regional Hospital for more than 20 years, most recently as finance director. She was fired after the hospital discovered her embezzlement in July 2017, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Ms. Hobson was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. She pleaded guilty in February.

Over a 10-year period, Ms. Hobson wrote checks to herself and her family members, which were deposited in her personal bank account. She also sent payments from hospital accounts to her personal loans and credit cards, used a hospital-issued credit card for personal expenses, and substituted her bank account for the direct deposit accounts of nine other employees, according to the DOJ.

“Today’s stiff sentence serves notice that white collar criminals will be brought to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew G.T. Martin of the Middle District of North Carolina. “Thank you to the law enforcement officers with the Department of Treasury, U.S. Secret Service, Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, and High Point Police Department who have worked diligently to uncover Ms. Hobson’s fraud and seek restitution for the hospital.”


Former director of finance charged with embezzling $1.5M from UNC hospital

Kimberly R Hobson

The former director of finance for UNC Regional Physicians was charged Tuesday with embezzling more than $1.5 million while she worked at High Point (N.C.) Regional Health, part of Chapel Hill, N.C.-based UNC Health Care.

The former High Point Regional Health employee, Kimberly Hobson, was charged with felonious embezzlement, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.

Hospital officials discovered the alleged embezzlement July 28 and subsequently fired Ms. Hobson.

She is being held at High Point jail on $1 million bail. Her next court date is set for Sept. 15.

The investigation into the alleged embezzlement is ongoing on the state and federal levels, according to the report.