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Instructions: 1. Read Discussion Post 2. Reply To Discussion Post (700 words) Di

1. Read Discussion Post
2. Reply To Discussion Post (700 words)
Discussion Post:
I must say that I have learned quite a bit in this class. I was so hesitant at first to take this class because I felt this was more about math and numbers. It was far from what I expected, and it was interesting to learn about budgets, operating revenue, healthcare reform, strategic planning, and managing materials. As future healthcare administrators, it’s important to understand how to manage your hospital and all of its departments. If you don’t understand your budget or how to manage your unit, then you will have high costs and possibly have to re-review your budget and start to reallocate or cut costs.
The one thing that has stuck in my head was strategic planning. How everyone should be involved from the start and the importance of writing things down. Having a second set of eyes and seeing your budget on paper helps you visualize things more. It is also important to remember that strategic planning is meant to help your organization succeed financially and to ensure that your departments will be able to stay with a budget. This is also a way of pre-planning and deciding in advance what must be done in the future. It consists of establishing the goals, objectives, policies, procedures, methods, and rules necessary to achieve the purposes of the organization (Nowicki, 2015, p264). It was also helpful to gain the knowledge of what each person’s role was in strategic planning and each step involved. Understanding the differences between the different planning methods and how they compare to each other was great to understand more about. I think having the visual aids from the book was really helpful as well because it helps me have a better outlook of what is expected as a healthcare administrator. Lastly, although it seems like a lengthy process, the 13 steps outlined in the book about strategic planning were a great learning tool and step-by-step visualization of what is expected.
As far as healthcare reform, I must say although I have been in healthcare for quite some time, it is still interesting to see how it has come about and all the implementations that have come about. I believe that healthcare reform is needed now more than ever with all the current changes within healthcare and as a future healthcare administrator. It was interesting to see how it has evolved and how the main topic at hand is to reduce costs and make healthcare more accessible for all. It was a real eye-opener to see the projections of growth in healthcare from 1950 to 2022 (which is just next year) and it seems that that projection is already outdated. I feel that as a future healthcare administrator I will have to keep up with the changes and ensure and all regulations are followed. Most of the healthcare reform is based on reducing costs which helps the patients. It necessarily doesn’t help the providers, as it would be a loss or write since most treat low-income patients. Federal reform was enacted after the Clinton plan and brought some good in insured families who lost coverage, employers were required to offer COBRA (continued healthcare for a certain period of time at a higher rate) and also required employers to offer plans to small groups (normally 50 employees or less). It also brought about electronic billing, claims, and remittance. They also enacted Medicare fraud and waste policy changes. Keeping up to date with current regulations and policies will help me in my future path as an administrator and will also ensure that I am aware of what types of issues are on the rise.
Understanding budgets was a little harder than I thought. It requires a lot more things that are incorporated into the budget. I liked learning about the overall process of budgeting and how each unit prepares its budget. It was interesting to learn about how everything fits into a budget and about how each person has a specific role in the budget. Being in healthcare for so long and processing claims you don’t see the budget side of things, however, you see how the billing cycle works. I think that the biggest things to remember in healthcare as a future administrator is holding units accountable for their budgets, ensuring accurate billing to avoid false claims, ensure there is no overspending (expensive office supplies, catered lunches, excessive trips, etc.), and that your budget has its top priorities accounted for on the majority of the budget. Lastly, projecting future needs for the fiscal year and ensuring that the budget is reviewed regularly to make sure that there are no issues that arise. Like staff quitting, excessive OT/DT pay, material mismanagement, etc.
Operating revenue was new for me and it was interesting to learn about it. I gained a lot of knowledge about fixed budgeting and flexed budgeting and the steps required for the budgeting process. I think that it is important to remember that the process and purpose of a budget are to measure and evaluate department productivity, employee productivity, serve as the basis for calculating the cost of each procedure, and to serve as the basis for determining staffing requirements and schedules (Nowicki, 2015, p285). It’s also important to remember to forecast different factors, like political, social, economic, technological, personal health, and environmental health. All of these will help prepare and forecast content. I loved interviewing my manager and listening to what she does in terms of budgeting and financial management. It was surprising how much you have to prepare and include to ensure that you stay within budget.
Lastly, material management was interesting to learn and really piqued my interest. I have seen why correct data and accurate accounting are so important when it comes to material management, especially in a hospital. Understanding what you have on hand and what needs ordering will help you stay ahead in the game. When you do not have a system in place to ensure the accuracy of materials on hand, then units can become shorts on items needed. Stock rooms need to keep accurate documentation and ensure that ordering is done in a timely manner. Prepare for wait time in shipping and delivery. As a future healthcare administrator, it will be useful to understand the process of ensuring all outdated material is taken out and disposed of properly, recycle through materials based on shelf life, ensure that quantity on hand matches what is in the system, place orders in time to account for any shipping and delivery delays. It is important to keep an accurate count as you don’t want to place an order for saline or gloves on Friday with an expected date of Tuesday only to find out that you miscounted, and you run out Sunday. We need to ensure that we are fully stocked and prepared to care for our patients. When we aren’t prepared, we can’t care for our patients with confidence and accuracy. We need to ensure that all of our just-in-time inventories are ordered regularly and timely, make sure that before ordering that is discontinued, that we are using the first-in-first-out order with products so that we don’t run the risk of having items expire and that the last-in, first-out process ensures that we are managing our inventory correctly.
I think there are always things that will always need refreshing or more learning from. For me, it would mainly be just to get better acquainted with strategic planning and budgeting. Being on the insurance/billing side for so long, it was never things I had to worry about or learn about. So, although I learned a lot, I feel like I still have a lot to learn. As future administrators, I know we won’t know everything, and that we will continue learning, but this class has helped me learn more of a practical overview of financial management.
Nowicki, M. (2015). Introduction to the Financial Management of Healthcare Organizations. Health Administration Press. Sixth edition. Chicago. IL.

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