Thank You to Our Platinum and Presidential Sponsors

2007 Issue 2

2007/2008 ISSUE TWO
Corporate Sponsor Program
We gratefully acknowledge the commitment of our Corporate Sponsors who assist in the funding of the Chapter's programs and activities

Presidential Level
Ernst & Young, LLP
Human Arc
Long-O'Shea & Co. LLC

Platinum Club
Fenner Consulting
Joseph R. Harrison Company, LPA
HRSI/FirstCredit International Corp.
IC Systems
JP Recovery Services, Inc.
MedCom Solutions
NatCity Investments, Inc.
Revenue Group/HRS
Total Practice Management, LLC

Gold Club
CareMedic Systems
RelayHealth (Formerly Per-Se Technologies)
Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP

Silver Club
Cirius Group, Inc.
Kreg Information Systems

Bronze Club
Bruner-Cox, LLP
Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP
CDR Associates, LLC
DMI Transitions
Engelhardt & Emrhein
HMC Group
JP Morgan Chase
KeyBanc Capital Markets
Masters Assocs Receivables Mgmt, Inc.
NCO Financial Systems Inc.
OSI Healthcare Services
Quadax, Inc.
Receivables Outsourcing Group
Resources Global Professionals
Sanford Rose Associates - Executive Search
Senex Services
Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease LLP
Wise Management Services, Inc.
Wolfskill & Associates

HFMA Northeast Ohio
Chapter Officers 2007-2008

Karen J. Mihalik

Charles S. Josey

Vice President
Anna Sulewski

Susan R. Flaherty

Suzanne M. Tschetter

Christopher Milligan

Chapter Coordinator
Kathleen A. Much

Board of Directors

Jack L. Bailey
Cynthia A. Dormo
Joyce Gusman
Michael J. Manfull
Robert S. Matitia
Mary Jayne Reedy

Visit HFMA National at:

Visit HFMA Northeast Ohio at:

Click here for Past Newsletters

HFMA Northeast Ohio

Joyce Gusman

Jack Bailey

Steve Rybka

Email the Committee


President's Message

Dear fellow HFMA members:

Our program year is in full swing, with plenty of updates to share with you in this issue of the newsletter. We have an exciting lineup of educational programs, networking events and additional opportunities for you to develop your industry expertise and leadership skills. The chapter website, brings you timely updates as well as a link to HFMA national's resources, including a full membership database.

Speaking of membership, our chapter directory will soon be available. Those attending the November 2 reimbursement meeting will receive theirs personally, and remaining copies will be mailed shortly thereafter. We invest time and resources into this directory to link you to our chapter resources and your colleagues, so please enjoy it and keep it as a handy resource. In this directory, you'll find the names of our chapter leaders who are dedicating their creative energy to the opportunities that we are able to offer, thanks to your membership and our sponsors' support. If you are interested in getting involved in a committee, please contact me or another chapter leader and we'll gladly get you engaged to develop your leadership skills. Thanks to all who have been involved in the continuing strong traditions of this chapter and forging roads that lead to new opportunities for all of us.

In This Issue
click or scroll to see as article

Certification is a just one of those opportunities. Congratulations to Becky Brugler, CFHP, from the Ernst & Young Akron office, who has recently achieved certification status! Please join me on the road to certification; have you ordered your study guides yet? They are good until December 2008 so you have plenty of time to get certified. See the article below from our certification chair, Bob Matitia from University Hospitals regarding the next coaching course that he will offer. It is a wonderful way to prepare with others locally before taking an exam. Please let us know how we can help you if you are looking to achieve certification status this year.

Enjoy the beauty of autumn and hope to see you soon at an HFMA Northeast Ohio event!


Karen Mihalik
Northeast Ohio HFMA Chapter President, 2007-2008

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2007 Holiday Party and Annual Awards Dinner

NEO HFMA is pleased to invite you to the 2007 Holiday Party and Annual Awards Dinner! Celebrate the Season! Join with friends at this year's Happy Holiday Gathering in a Country Setting.

The evening, all wrapped up in an enchanted surrounding and holiday flair, promises to be memorable with HFMA friends, old and new. The Blue Heron will be elegant, yet comfortable = a great place to indulge in amazing food, incredible socializing and endless dancing.

This year's charity 50/50 Raffle will benefit Harvest Home - an Akron shelter for women and children.

  • Wednesday, November 28, 2007
  • 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm - Cocktails
  • 8:00 to 9:00 pm - Dinner
  • 9:00 -9:30 pm - Awards
  • 9:30-11:00 pm - Social and Dancing
  • $40 per person
Blue Heron Banquet and Conference Center
3225 Blue Heron Trace, Medina, Ohio, 44256

Directions available at

Register on-line at

Or contact Kathy Much, 27910 Osborn Rd., Bay Village, Ohio 44140

Phone: (440) 835-1186
Deadline to register for this event is November 23rd

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Membership Message

NEO HFMA Welcomes...

Charles RihnManagerSource 1 Healthcare Solutions
Joshua G. FrederickFinance DirectorNorthern Ohio Medical Specialists
Anthony J SchilleroManager of Internal Finance ReportingUniversity Hospitals
Keron WhiteAdministrative Fellow/residentLouis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center
Sameer B. AlramahiSr. Financial AnalystUniversity Hospital
Diana L O'Boyle Ernst & Young
Kimberly RoseSenior AccountantDeloitte & Touche Llp
Troy TierzMgr. Business IntelligenceEmergency Medicine Physicians
Michael A ParrisAssociate Account ManagerRelational Technology Solutions

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Membership Committee - Get to Know Us - Come Join Us!

We'd like to introduce ourselves. We are the 2007/2008 Membership Committee. We are 11 Chapter members working for you (and a really nice group of people).

Jonathan Brown

Frank Conway

Julie Day

Lisa Geiger

Jill Hiner

Diane Lilko

Chris Maeder

Mike Manfull

Bob Medcalf

Mary Jayne Reedy

Suzanne Tschetter

A strong Chapter membership is essential to creating a rich experience for everyone. This year, our committee has several important things to accomplish in support of high member satisfaction and achievement of Chapter scorecard objectives. Three key initiatives are:

  • New member recruitment
  • Member retention
  • Member satisfaction

Most of our committee members are new to our group. We are happy to extend an invitation to you to join our committee. We'd like to get to know you (if we don't already). Plus, it's not all work and no play. We have plans to mix it up. We are just an email away. Contact any one of us on our committee and we'll get you involved.

We hope to hear from you.

From your friends,

NEOHFMA Membership Committee

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HFMA Helps You Stay On Top Of Your Game. Share the Experience.

As a current member of HFMA, you are in the best position to share your experience as a member, be a recruitment link to others and help impact HFMA's future. Last year, nearly 1,400 individuals nationwide joined HFMA.

Right now, the 2007-2008 Member-Get-A-Member program is in full swing. Did you know that when you recruit 1or 2 new members (or reactivate members), you will receive either a $25 Visa Fuel Card or HFMA apparel - your choice. Recruit 3 or 4 new members and receive $100 Visa card. The rewards keep growing ... Have fun! Happy recruiting!

Click for more details.

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Upcoming Events

Listed below are the remaining events planned for the 2007/2008 program year. Details and dates are announced as soon as they are available. Check the events calendar section of often for updates on events.

Medical Group/Post Acute CareJanuary 17, 2008
ReimbursementNovember 2, 2007
Patient Financial ServicesFebruary 21, 2008
Past President's RecognitionMarch 27, 2008

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Ghali Recaps

Gerry Haggerty Annual Leadership Institute 2007

Sunny skies and the great location of Quail Hollow welcomed attendees to this years GHALI. With a change of days to a Monday through Wednesday format, a great lineup of speakers, a Vendor Fair, golf tournament, Casino Night, Food Stations from around the USA, Installation of Officers and oh yes Texas Hold'em, how could it not be a great event?

Congratulations to the Committee headed by Bill Watson and Dave Lang for a job well done. The comments received were very positive and our goal of expanding this conference to be a regional one has started to take place. This was our last year at Quail Hollow and the location served us well as we attempted to grow beyond our NE Ohio boundaries.

Watch for details of next years Conference, May 21-23, at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky Ohio! This event runs Wednesday thru Friday.

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Kudos to You!

Welcome back to Ohio

After spending 7 years in Rochester New York as the CFO of the Via Healthcare System, Former HFMA President Richard Hogg has retired from the CFO ranks and is working as the Development Director for the independent investment advisory firm of Hartland & Co., headquartered in Cleveland.

Cyndee Shirk has joined UHHS/CSAHS - Cuyahoga, Inc (St. Vincent Charity & St. John West Shore Hospitals) as a Senior Analyst.

Claudio Zanin has been appointed Administrator of the Cardio-Vascular Service Line at Parma Hospital.

Congratulations to Cindy Hoyt on her recent move to Akron General Medical Center as the Director of Patient Financial Services. She also serves as the Secretary for the AAHAM/Western Reserve Chapter.

Becky Brugler received the HFMA CHFP certification by passing the test at the ANI in late June.

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Improve Healthcare Building Environments to Improve Staff Satisfaction

In healthcare settings, staff satisfaction and retention are critical to patient care and hospital outcomes. In fact, the continuing shortage of qualified nurses has been found to play a role in the commission of medical errors, according to a recent Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) study(1). Therefore, maintaining job satisfaction rates to retain healthcare personnel is a continuing, important goal of healthcare organizations.

Given that working conditions comprise a major factor in job satisfaction among RNs(2) as well as all healthcare providers, a positive building environment can play an important role in how healthcare delivery personnel feel about their jobs. Providing supportive positive working conditions, including building layout, temperature, lighting, noise, and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) can therefore contribute to the ability of medical personnel to perform their work well and maintain high morale.

To create and maintain building environments that support the highest possible levels of healthcare delivery - as well as overall professional staff satisfaction -focus on efficiently providing indoor comfort and proper Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).

IAQ affects healthcare staff satisfaction in several ways. Improving IAQ, including proper air exchange, air flow and filtration, can contribute to lower rates of nosocomial infections, which results in longer patient stays and higher work loads for already stressed staff. Better IAQ also benefits hospital personnel by helping to reduce their risk of contracting infections such as tuberculosis.

For proper IAQ, hospital ventilation and filtration systems must meet strict standards. Look to guidelines set out by The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the Joint Commission on Accreditation for Healthcare (JCAHO).

Temperature and humidity

When regulating temperature and humidity, priorities must address patient health and healing as well as staff working conditions. For example, in the operating room, set temperatures to suit the procedure being performed and materials used - as well as the personnel involved. Surgeons and support staff often need to concentrate for long hours wearing layers of protective clothing and sub-optimal temperatures can lead to significant discomfort and sweating.

Consider that different spaces may also warrant specific requirements. Patient rooms will generally require warmer temperatures than surgical suites. Ensure that the design - and control of - healthcare HVAC systems will allow both the precise, and customized, temperature control throughout the facility.

Franklin Memorial Hospital (FMH) in Farmington, Maine wanted the latest in HVAC technology when it undertook renovation of its operating suites in order to "satisfy the surgeons, who wanted the temperature at 62-65 degrees, while the anesthesiologists and other staff wanted higher temperatures." Moreover, excessive humidity can require resterilizing surgical kits, adding thousands of dollars of expense.

For the solution, FMH worked with their HVAC consultants and consulting engineers to design and build a new packaged, state-of-the-art HVAC system to provide superior temperature and humidity control. The system included water pumps, piping, as well as a high technology automation system and controls. The result: O-R doctors love the new system because it keeps them so comfortable.

Noise and Light

In addition to air quality, temperature and humidity, noise can also directly affect the hospital atmosphere, impacting both workers and patients. High noise levels can add to stress. Building equipment, including HVAC systems, should be selected and designed for minimal noise output.

Poor lighting has been linked to patient depression and medication errors (Designing, 2004). Hospitals can incorporate technologies, such as highly efficient fluorescent lighting, to achieve proper conditions for staff while saving energy. Lighting systems can be integrated in overall building automation environmental management solutions to provide centralized control as well as improve energy management and efficiency.

Centralized Monitoring and Reporting

Hospital administrators and engineers also installed a next generation control and management tool that will not only save time and money by providing detailed environment of care documentation for Joint Commission reporting, but also allows hospital staff to continuously view, monitor, track, trend and report environmental conditions in all critical areas from a single location. The high technology solution provides an immediate alarm signal if any critical parameter is exceeded so that staff may take immediate action to correct the situation.

Quality Staff and Environment

Improving patient outcomes can be a direct benefit of raising job satisfaction and lowering turnover among healthcare professionals. Creating healthy, efficient, and comfortable hospital buildings is an integral element of achieving staff satisfaction and retention - worthy of ongoing attention, investment, and improvement.

For more information, contact: Todd Smith, Trane Ohio, by phone: 513-771-8884 or email:


(1) Tarkan, Laurie. "Nursing Shortage Forces Hospitals to Cope Creatively". The New York Times, January 6, 2004.

(2) "Designing the 21st Century Hospital: Serving Patients and Staff." Summary based on a conference convened by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and The Center for Health Design, June 3, 2004, in Washington, D.C.

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Healthcare Providers Can Proactively Address Charity Care Issue

Several state lawmakers have recently proposed legislation that would establish stricter standards for charity-based healthcare organizations to maintain tax-exemption eligibility. Currently, the guidelines vary from state to state, requirements are unclear and hospitals often end up having to interpret vague state and local guidelines to establish their own charity care criteria. Without uniform standards, it is complex and challenging for hospitals to determine the appropriate level of charity care.

While hospitals are attempting to clarify their charity care policies, some consumer advocacy groups claim public hospitals are not providing enough charity care to deserving individuals and are using overly aggressive tactics when collecting a patient's payment for services. Unfortunately, many hospitals have antiquated revenue cycle processes that might misclassify a patient's account as possible collection, rather than as a true charity case, and the patient account becomes part of the $46M in bad debt across the U.S. In either scenario, the medical services were ultimately provided to the patient at no charge. Only the accounting process was incorrect.

In November 2006, the HFMA's Principles & Practices Board updated Statement 15 to improve clarity and address congressional and legal questions regarding the charity care reporting practices of tax-exempt hospitals. As part of its recommendations, the board suggested providers determine charity care eligibility and bad debt before or at the time of service. To better fulfill its charity-based mission, some hospitals are following Statement 15's recommendations and employing new strategies with automated technologies that objectively and logically predict a patient's eligibility for charity or other assistance. For example, after certifying permissible purpose under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, those hospitals can check a patient's credit profile to project their financial resources. They can then better assist those patients who are unaware that they may be eligible for available Medicaid, State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and other public financial assistance, and also evaluate them for possible hospital discounts and charity. If a patient qualifies for a program, some technology systems can generate the necessary paperwork, populate it with patient information and submit the appropriate Medicaid, discount request and charity applications.

In turn, registrars can spend more time counseling patients and addressing their financial needs. With proper, evidence-based determination of a patient's eligibility for financial assistance, hospitals can help the truly needy as well as prove its decisions on a case-by-case basis and thereby meet exemption guidelines.

Automated technologies can offer other benefits as well, including:

  • Identity Management - reduce fraud and better predict financial performance by verifying Social Security Numbers, addresses, phone and other contact numbers from the beginning (i.e. at the point of registration). This not only helps in reducing fraud losses, but also protects patients from the many headaches that result from becoming a victim of the crime.

  • Determine Appropriate Payment Options - develop an automated process and leverage new technologies to assess a patient's financial situation and determine the best payment options.

  • Ensure Objective Charity Program - maintain a healthy revenue cycle and ensure objective, consistent and current results by conducting an ongoing assessment of the hospital's charity program.

  • Collection Prioritization - prioritize collections efforts by incorporating data, evaluation models, decision systems, advanced analytics and expert consultation into an objective decision-making process.

  • System Automation - automate key steps in the hospital's revenue cycle to make informed decisions more quickly.

For many health care providers, it's not as much a matter of wanting to give discounts and charity care as it is having policies and processes in place to accurately assess a patient's financial resources and determine who may be eligible for assistance - charity, public aid, discounts or payment plans. By addressing this issue at the beginning of the registration process, the likelihood of a patient going into collections is greatly reduced, resulting in fewer surprises for the patient and a healthier revenue cycle for the healthcare organization.

Marty Callahan is a vice president and oversees TransUnion's Healthcare Information Services. Headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion is a leading global information solutions company that offers a broad range of financial services that enable customers to manage risk and capitalize on market opportunities. The company uses advanced technology coupled with extensive analytical capabilities to combat fraud and facilitate credit transactions between businesses and consumers across multiple markets. Marty Callahan can be reached at

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Puzzle - Shriekville's Ghosts

By Jack Bailey

Five People were all taking a vacation in Shriekville; unfortunately all their vacations were cut short by a terrifying encounter with a resident ghost.

Can you determine the type of accommodation, its name and the name of the resident ghost?

    Archibald stayed at St George's; he was not frightened off by Macabre Malcolm.

    The pub was the home of Chilling Charlie, who frequently turned down the thermostat and then let out gruesome shrieks, chilling everyone to the bone.

    Lucas or Archibald's vacation was at the castle - was Terrifying Tony the resident ghost there?

    Charlie went to stay with friends, this was in a bungalow, but it did not have the name Briar Hill. He was not terrified by Bloodcurdling Brian, the ghost that left bloodstained footprints behind.

    Billy vacationed at a place named Rosedale, which was not a hotel.

    Creepy Craig really did scare Gary, as he was settling down to sleep, by scraping his fingernails on the bedroom window, this was not at a hotel and it wasn't a place named Avalon.

    The bed and breakfast accommodation was not High Lodge, which was also not the castle where Macabre Malcolm was resident.

E-mail your answer to Jack Bailey at All correct entries will be included in a drawing and one lucky entrant will receive a $25 gift certificate.

Previous puzzle: Summer Paintings


      # Name Artist
      1 Ada Monet
      2 Eileen Constable
      3 Jenny Van Gogh
      4 Vera Taylor

Winner: Jason Kopczak of Ashtabula County Medical Center won a $25 gift card to Macy's.

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