HFMA Annual 2022 Brings Connection & Inspiration to Attendees

By Jonathan Wiik, VP Healthcare Insights, FinThrive
Twitter: @Fin_Thrive

The 2022 HFMA Annual Conference wrapped up in Denver, Colorado recently. Falling on the heels of the HFMA Annual Conference that took place in Minneapolis last November, the ’22 conference demonstrated continued enthusiasm and anticipation for in-person events from conference attendees. This year’s conference focused on the Cost-Effectiveness of Health initiative and featured healthcare leaders across the industry. It felt so good to be able to meet face-to-face and learn from some of the brightest in the industry. Below are my key takeaways from the conference:

Attendance on the Mend

The attendance at this year’s HFMA Annual Conference was strong with it only being slightly less busy than a typical HFMA conference in a pre-pandemic world. There was emotional energy amongst attendees and exhibitors, many of whom have worked together but had never met until this conference, as well as excitement amongst those who got to see the familiar faces of their co-workers they have worked with for years. Attendees also enjoyed being able to network and learn more about their industry.

The information sessions, staff and general atmosphere were awesome but being able to see people hug, laugh and connect was what made this conference truly special.

Meaningful Information Sessions

If the atmosphere was awesome then the information sessions were out of this world. HFMA did a spectacular job with the lineup, and all attendees left these sessions with new insights and takeaways. Some of my favorites included:

  1. Keynote speaker, Dr. Neuwirth from Atrium Health opened the conference. Dr. Neuwirth discussed two main themes:
    • Theme 1: The need to reframe healthcare:
      Challenging the status quo is a must for improving our healthcare system because the status quo is not working. Dr. Neuwirth went on to say how the United States has some of the brightest people, newest technology and is one of the heaviest funded healthcare systems in the world yet we still have some of the poorest outcomes and health disparities.
    • Theme 2: Shifting from a “nice to” to a “must-do”:
      The only way to fix poor health outcomes is by making doing the right thing a priority. Doing the right thing consists of making patients feel listened to and accommodating their care based on the individual.
  2. Keynote speaker, DJ Vanas, a Native American thought leader and motivational speaker discussed managing healthcare via the warrior within by protecting our tribes (our teams), managing our resources (patients, reimbursements, payers) and fostering joy to reduce burnout.
  3. Payor-provider collaboration session featuring John Yount and Jamie Davis from Banner Health discussed the need for collaboration throughout revenue cycle management and the need to share data to reduce duplication of tasks and create better outcomes for patients, providers and payers.

Shining a Light on Common Pain Points

One of areas in which HFMA shines is by taking time to address the issues that often plague the system. These include (but are certainly not limited) to:

  • Labor
  • Patient financial experience
  • Payer relations
  • Value-based care

Although these themes are not new in the healthcare space there was a lot of movement showcased at this year’s conference. There were examples of where to start and how important it is to move. There was also a major realization and agreement that value-based care is not only possible but crucial to long-term success. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed how fragile and broken the healthcare system is in the United States. We can no longer duplicate what we had before; instead, we must strive to create something better.

2022’s HFMA Annual Conference was truly a special one. It was cathartic for all of us within the industry to come together to learn, connect and celebrate. It reminded those who are lucky enough to work in this industry of the opportunity we have to shape the United States’ healthcare system and the responsibility we have to ensure that patients from a variety of backgrounds receive the care that we would want our loved ones to receive.