I spoke with Anne Zieger at FierceHealthcare last week about a variety of strategies for hospitals to engage with their affiliated physicians in order to hunker down and improve short-term finances and also prepare for future growth. The strategies can range from virtual gainsharing to service line development, and share the virtues of (a) not requiring significant capital investment and (b) yielding efficiencies and cost savings that can relieve pressures on hospitals' bottom lines and also improve collaborative relationships between physicians and hospitals. In addition, provider organizations need to be cognizant of continuing shifts by CMS and other payors in the direction of value-based purchasing; those prepared in advance through participation in demonstration projects (e.g., ACE and PHCD demos that I've helped provider organizations get into) will be well-positioned to maneuver effectively as value-based purchasing becomes mainstream.
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