The Healthcare Financial Management Association used its annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., last week to tout new initiatives designed to help healthcare finance professionals find employment.
Newly installed HFMA Chairman Ronald D. Anspaugh said the association is forming a task force to identify products and services that financial management professionals can use to land jobs and thrive in nonhospital settings.
Anspaugh is director of patient financial services in Price Waterhouse's Atlanta office.
He also disclosed plans to explore relationships with other healthcare or management associations. They likely would be modeled on a strategic alliance formed with the Medical Group Management Association last year. "There are other associations that may also be a good fit," Anspaugh said.
Anspaugh delivered the opening address at the HFMA's largest-ever gathering, which drew 2,100 conference attendees and 195 exhibitors to Orlando. The HFMA represents 34,000 healthcare finance professionals, including chief financial officers.
The initiatives he announced respond to the growing recognition that, as hospitals merge or are acquired, fewer finance professionals are being employed in traditional hospital-based settings. At the same time, new healthcare finance opportunities are materializing within medical groups and managed-care plans, if only members had the wherewithal to adapt their skills and resumes.
Anspaugh's theme for the year, "From Opportunity to Action," casts the profession's turmoil in a positive light. Career change, he said, is one of the key areas of opportunity.
The Westchester, Ill.-based association doesn't have current data on CFO job losses in the hospital industry. But a survey two years ago found that 15% to 20% of finance executives had been in their jobs less than a year, an indication of job turnover, said Richard L. Clarke, the HFMA's president and chief executive officer. That range has come down in more recent surveys. But given the industry's consolidation wave, "I have to believe it's probably gone up again," Clarke said.
Anspaugh said the new task force will bring together 12 to 15 CFOs who have held jobs at hospitals and then moved on to new roles. The idea, he said, is to find ways the HFMA can help members make the transition into nontraditional healthcare settings and excel.
As an example, he cited Bonnie L. Phipps, former CFO of DeKalb Healthcare System, Decatur, Ga., now president and CEO of Promina Managed Care Organization and Promina Health Plan, Atlanta. At last week's meeting, Phipps was awarded the association's 1997 Frederick C. Morgan Individual Achievement Award, the association's highest honor.
Anspaugh also set a goal of working with local chapters to help identify changes in their markets and arm members with tailor-made solutions. "This local-level involvement is critical because change isn't going to be the same in every part of the country," he said.
During his year as chairman, Anspaugh also hopes to expand the HFMA's community education projects. This year, he said, 46 chapters participated in a project aimed at helping the elderly understand Medicare.