In this episode, Jim Hoffman, Chief Operating Officer at BESLER Consulting, discusses the topics and trends that will make news at HFMA ANI 2016.
Michael Passanante: Hi, this is Mike Passanante, and welcome back the Hospital Finance Podcast. Today, I’m joined by Jim Hoffman. Jim is our Chief Operating Officer here at BESLER Consulting. Today, Jim and I are going to talk to you about HFMA’s ANI and all the new things that are coming out there, and what BESLER will be doing at the meeting. Welcome, Jim.
Jim Hoffman: Thanks, Mike.
Michael: Jim, why don’t you just break down what HFMA ANI is and what it’s all about?
Jim: Sure. The HFMA is the Healthcare Financial Management Association, and ANI is their Annual National Institute which brings together—usually, it’s 5000 or 6000 healthcare finance professionals, and vendors, and speakers. It’s in Las Vegas at the end of June, and we’re looking forward to it.
Michael: So you’ve attended this event for many years now, Jim, and you’ve seen the trends come and go. I’m looking that this year’s agenda, do you see any particular trends in the ANI session line up that stand out to you?
Jim: I think the biggest trend that I’ve seen looking over the agenda for this year is that there’s a lot in terms of hospitals getting ready for the future. As bundled payments are becoming more common and hospital have been acquiring physician practices, they’re looking at ways to cooperate and coordinate care with other providers in their communities, and keep costs down low, and create the best outcomes for their patients as possible.
Michael: So, you touched on bundled payments there, and I want to dive into that a little bit because it seems there is a lot of emphasis on bundled payments and value-based payments. And given the landscape, that’s what you might expect. In your opinion, what are some of the things that you think attendees should pay particular attention to when they’re in sessions dealing with those topics?
Jim: I think they should look for some topics that are– these will probably be few and far between still. But from the perspective of a provider (hopefully one that’s already been through the process of establishing a bundled payment contract or a plan), there are several—or more than several, probably close to 20 various CMS, Medicare-focused bundled programs that are in various pilot stages. And there are a few of those that are fairly widespread, but there are also a lot of people who are talking about new bundled payment programs, new payers that are just starting to implement them.
So, I would say if you’re looking at sessions, look at ones that have providers as speakers as opposed to vendors. You’ll probably get a much better real-world view of how things are going in that area.
Michael: So, just kind of drawing on your experience in having been to this meeting several times, you think back over the past few years, hospital finance professionals have had several items on their agenda, including things like the ICD-10 transition, meaningful use. Are those issues that providers are still grappling with, whether or not they’re on the agenda at this point?
Jim: I think it depends on the issue. ICD-10 seems to have been sort of the Y2K of recent years. There was a lot of concern leading up to it. People did a good job preparing for it for the most part and it’s really quieted down. It seems that the transition seems to have gone pretty smoothly.
So in that case where there were lots of vendors who were focused on ICD-10 in the past years (in terms of the exhibit hall at ANI), I don’t know that you’ll see a lot of that this year.
Meaningful use, that’s been an issue I think providers have—especially hospitals have a pretty good handle on it at this point. I wouldn’t expect a lot in the way of vendors or focus on that. I don’t know if there’s even a single meaningful use session on the agenda this year that I noticed.
I think between things like that, the general economic climate over the last five or six years as it’s improving. We’re hoping that hospitals are coming out of the distractions from some of these bigger issues and we’ll get almost like “get back to business as usual” and start focusing on some day-to-day improvements on their operations unless some of these government mandates that they were forced to deal with.
Michael: Jim, just touching on something that you mentioned a minute ago, the exhibit hall. What do you expect to see that’ll be new and different from what we’ve seen in the exhibit hall in the past year?
Jim: Taking into account some of the things that we’ve seen at previous trade shows this year, I think you’ll see a lot around analytics. I think you’ll see very, very focused analytics tools, things that are looking maybe just at readmissions or just at some other reimbursement issues that hospitals are facing. That’s been a big trend over the last year or so at trade shows in general for hospitals.
I think you will probably see, given some of the recent headlines around IT security and ransomware, you’ll probably see some IT vendors focused on that, coming in with some sort of last minute offerings around that just based on the notoriety it’s gotten in the last few months.
In the exhibit hall, you’ll see a lot of the same vendors that are there every year. Given that it’s a finance show, you’ll see a lot of investment companies, companies that are M&A consultants, finance companies, things like that.
Michael: Jim, BESLER Consulting has had a presence at HFMA ANI for several years, and this year will be no different. We’ll have several staff members on site and an exhibit booth. Can you tell us more about what attendees can expect to see from BESLER Consulting this year?
Jim: Sure! We’ll be at the Booth #734 in the hall. The two things we’ll be talking about most that we expect in the booth this year are our Transfer DRG service and a new offering that we’re launching at ANI around the new CMS Joint Replacement bundled payment program (CJR).
And on the Transfer DRG offering, it’s something that we’ve done for years. It’s something that we do for hundreds of hospitals to recover additional revenue for them. We’re very happy that we just renewed our HFMA peer-reviewed designation for that product.
On the CJR offering, it’s an analysis of the data that CMS provides to the hospitals that are participants in the bundled payment program. It’s not a voluntary program. About 800 hospitals were selected by CMS to participate in this new reimbursement system for joint replacements—hip, and knee, and ankles.
So we have an offering that takes hospitals’ data that CMS provides them. We analyze the data, verify that the reimbursement estimates that CMS gives them are accurate.
We also look at the data to help hospitals, identify steps they need to take in order to be successful under the program. They have the opportunity, for example, to develop relationships with other providers, and we can give them specific steps to take and specific providers to look at to identify the ones that would be most advantageous, for example.
What really makes our offering different, we think—because hospitals will probably be able to see other vendors talking about CJR at ANI this year—is that we don’t simply analyze the data. We take the data that CMS provides. We augment it with additional claims data that we’re able to obtain from CMS eligibility and claim information systems, and we put all that together into a series of reports and analyses that ultimately give hospitals very specific recommendations to take in order to maximize their reimbursement under the system and to be as successful as they possibly can.
Michael: Jim, what are you hoping to get out of ANI personally this year?
Jim: I like to attend various sessions. I’ve got three or four that I’m hoping to be able to get to this year. Always happy to see former colleagues and other acquaintances from other companies who’ll be there. And the keynotes are usually pretty good as well.
Michael: Do you have any advice for first time attendees?
Jim: I would say the biggest advice is that there are so many options when it comes to the sessions that you’ll really want to plan out your agenda well before you get to the show, so that you can really just get the most out of it, get to the sessions that are going to mean the most to you because a lot are going on at any given time and you’ll have to pick and choose. So that’ll probably be the best advice.
And don’t skip the exhibit hall even if you’re not looking to purchase anything in particular for your hospital or to acquire a new product or service of any kind. You’ll get a lot of good ideas and see what other people are interested in. I think it’s kind of a leading indicator in terms of what important issues are if companies have put the resources behind developing a product for it.
So, even if you’re not really focused on that right now, it’s probably a good check on what the upcoming important issues in the industry are going to be.
Michael: So, if you’re going to be attending ANI this year, be sure to stop by and see us at Booth #734. We look forward to meeting you, shaking your hand, and spending some time talking with you about the issues that are pressing for your organization.
Jim, thanks so much for spending some time with us today. It was very insightful. And I think we’re both looking forward to heading out to Vegas soon.
Jim: Thanks, Mike. I agree.