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Attention boards: Four big things to remember

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This article in Hospitals & Health Networks looks at four areas that hospital boards must pay more attention t0 these days:

1. “Physician relationships and practice patterns: Hospitals increasingly are accountable for physician behavior as a result of the stiffening of Stark anti-kickback rules, widening provisions of the False Claims Act, exposure resulting from the Physician Sunshine Act and Medicare Physician Database, provisions in the Affordable Care Act that heighten scrutiny for physician business dealings and the trend toward physician employment.”

2. “Partnerships and affiliations: Every hospital regardless of size is attempting to reduce its operating costs and evaluating its future. These efforts invariably involve consideration of formal relationships with other hospitals and formal relationships with private insurers, outsourcing partners, technology suppliers and others. Hospital boards must know the details of each deal, how debt covenants and operations are impacted, and where there’s financial or reputational risk if the marriage hits the rocks.”

3.  “Performance risk: Historically, bread and butter operational functions like purchasing, business office operations and clinical documentation have been a key focus for hospital compliance efforts and rightly so. They’re complicated and costly, and where ethical or legal lines are crossed, whistleblowers are increasingly watchful. Adding complexity, the shifting of incentives from fee for service to value-based payments, is ripe for performance risk….”

4. “Reputation risks: ...How a {hospital’s} reputation is measured and its accessibility to outside parties including lenders and the community is increasingly more sophisticated. Achieving recognition on credible report cards, like those offered by U.S. News & World Report, Truven, Leapfrog Group and others is an important start, because their methodologies are credible. But access to data about a hospital’s clinical, operational and financial performance is expanding exponentially through social media and proprietary vendors. …”


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