Metropolis Medical Center:
Scenario Planning Will Ease Reform Uncertainty

Sharon Kelley, a speaker at the marcus evans National Healthcare CFO Summit Spring 2011, explains that healthcare CFOs must break through their traditional roles.

Interview with: Sharon Kelley, CFO, MetroHealth Medical Center, Memphis


Healthcare Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) have to prepare as the American healthcare system transforms from an uninsured market, placing unprecedented pressure on the pre-existing cost model. In this reform-era, scenario planning will be a key focus, according to Sharon Kelley, CFO, MetroHealth Medical Center, Memphis.

A speaker at the marcus evans National Healthcare CFO Summit Spring 2011 taking place in Hollywood, Florida, May 25-27, Kelley explains that hospitals will have to adjust for the cost differential within their delivery model.

What should the top priorities be for CFOs in the US today?

Sharon Kelley: Healthcare CFOs should prepare for the impacts of healthcare reform. They must ensure that they offer a delivery model that will encompass the necessary success items for an accountable care organization (ACO). They also need to establish the right efficiencies in the organization, to be effective in an environment of increased volume and lower payments.

What is best practice in responding to the new healthcare reform legislation?

Sharon Kelley: CFOs really need to understand their preparedness for ACOs. In our particular case, we have been working with KPMG who had established a model whereby they interview all key stakeholders as they relate to accountable care and healthcare reform.

Scenario planning must be done to determine the nimbleness and readiness of our organization, for example, to adjust to changes in infrastructure. In a lot of these areas we are not going to see growth as the solution. The focus will be more on the leadership competencies and how it can be approached from an efficiency and cost perspective, as well as from a growth perspective.

How can a CFO enhance an organization’s competitive edge?

Sharon Kelley: Infusion of talent is important. The best and brightest finance people are not necessarily putting healthcare as their number one choice, even though it is one of the few sectors projected to have significant growth over the next 10 to 20 years. We must start attracting talent even if it is from other industries that may have gone through some of the same types of struggles that the healthcare industry expects to experience in the next four to five years.
Also, the CFO has to help define what is affordable in a delivery model given the changes that may be coming. In addition, the CFO can be a very strong advocate for the CEO and local government. They can really be at the forefront of trying to help their state craft legislation that makes a difference.

How successful was the transformation that occurred at the Metro Health Medical Center?

Sharon Kelley: In the first three months of 2008, the organization, which is a public hospital, had lost USD 10 million and it was looking like the facility would either have a slow demise or possibly close. The turnaround we achieved is quite remarkable – in 2009 we made USD 52 million and in 2010 we made close to USD 30 million. It was about taking a hospital that has one of the worst imaginable payer mixes and turning it around from the ground up to bring out the best regarding reimbursement. That ultimately culminated in an upgrade to an ‘A’ rating by Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s and Fitch last November. These results were achieved against the backdrop of the same payer mix. 

What long-term strategies would you recommend?

Sharon Kelley: We have to break through our traditional roles. We really have to drive a lot of the change because if we can create the case for change, which we have done effectively at Metro, we can be more of a player in terms of how this is going to turn out post transformation and post healthcare reform.

Maeve McGovern
Group News and Features Writer
marcus evans
Tel: + 357 22 849 313

About the National Healthcare CFO Summit Spring 2011

This unique forum will take place at The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, Hollywood, Florida, May 25-27, 2011. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The summit’s program topics will include interactive discussions on healthcare reform, physician alignment, capitalizing on LEAN techniques and credit implications of a changing healthcare landscape.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at

marcus evans group – healthcare sector portal

Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

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