Healthcare is no different from any other business in the world although it is for helping patients get what they need it all costs money. Without charging for the care provided and the supplies needed to perform the care hospital organizations would not thrive and would be put out of business. The cost of everything must be considered and taken into account for healthcare organizations worldwide. Technology and medical equipment come at a price, so administrators need to ensure that the financial obligation ins considered during every decision within a healthcare organization. New technology is presented almost daily, but if the productivity doesn’t outweigh the cost of the item then often the technology is over looked and discarded. “The primary role of finance in health services organizations, as in all businesses, is to plan for, acquire, and use resources to maximize the efficiency (and value) of the enterprise” (Gapenski, 2013). There are many different healthcare settings all of which must pay close attention to the financial environment that is around them.
Hospitals which are accredited facility are very large in size and often cause a large overhead cost to run. There are many different types of hospital that are available such as general care hospitals which often encompasses care for all types of injuries and illnesses; specialty hospitals which try to provide care for a specific ailment such as cancer; and then there are smaller hospitals that are developed for smaller rule areas. Hospitals are categorized by ownership which are governmental, private non for profit and investor owned. Private for nonprofit hospitals hold the largest percentage of hospitals in America (Gapenski, 2013). Due to the rise of many other healthcare centers opening hospitals are finding it more difficult to sustain the profits they once did to sustain keeping the doors open and may hospitals have been slowly closing down or changing the way they do business to keep the financial obligations met.
Ambulatory care is often centered around outpatient care and they are often not accredited like hospitals. Ambulatory care services offer convenience to the patients for a lower cost than hospitals. Many procedures can now be performed and the patient can be released the very same day keeping the costs lower for the patient and helping the ambulatory care clinic to keep the patients coming. Ambulatory care centers are steadily increasing because the financial obligations to run them are much less and because they are not accredited it is much easier to get them started as well as keep them going (Gapenski, 2013).
Long term care facilities which often are referred to as nursing home care, but there are many forms of long term care that is available besides nursing homes. The types of long term care also include recovery centers, hospice, life care centers, and others. Long term care facilities fluctuate in range from 24-hour care to minimal care with no professional health care services. There is often an issue with insurance and those facilities that do not provide physical professional healthcare and they can often not be covered for the patient (Gapenski, 2013). Long term care facilities are increasing at a fairly decent rate with the explosion of Baby Boomers and because the cost of care especially for 24-hour care in a long term facility is far less than a hospital.
An alternative to long term health care is at home healthcare. This is often preferred by many family members because that means that their loved one can be cared for in a place that they feel the most comfortable. Many insurance companies do not approve at home healthcare and this can often cause more of a financial burden on the patient and their families (Gapenski, 2013). With the ever increasing rate of the elderly it may be more acceptable in years to come. The overhead cost and financial obligation to provide care in this setting and be far less than many other forms of care because the family or patient pay the majority of the overhead cost within the home.
The last type of healthcare setting that needs to be addressed is the integrated delivery systems in healthcare. These are often a combination of all services and can benefit the patient in many ways because all care is available that they may need. Most integrated delivery systems shift their focus from reactive care to developing a relationship to the patient and focusing on prevention and early intervention to keep that costs lower for the organization. Any time an illness or injury can be prevented it can help keep the costs low as less supplies, medications, and time for treatment is utilized. Using the prevention approach can assist with keeping an entire community healthier while still paying premiums into the integrated delivery system increasing profit for the organization. A large drawback for the integrated system though is if prevention and early detection do not work within that community then many financial funds can be lost as they amount of expenditure increases over the take home value the community is placing in. Another challenge is that trying to consolidate all the different functions into one and manage them all together makes it extremely difficult to accomplish (Gapenski, 2013).
In conclusion, none of the systems are perfect and each healthcare system must ensure that they keep the financial planning and management on the forefront in the decision making process. Any business or healthcare organization that refuses to look at the cost and overhead of their facility is doomed in the future. They may be able to keep a float for a short period of time, but as the debt builds the foundation will begin to crumble and like any business it will go bankrupt and have to close its doors.
Gapenski, L. (2013). Fundamentals of Healthcare Finance [2nd Edition]. Retrieved from https://kaplan.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781567935714/cfi/4!/4/[email protected]:0.00