IT Forum Update

IT Forum Update


The South Florida HFMA IT Forum has been focused on highlighting the value of technology for healthcare providers, through educational resources and speaking opportunities at upcoming HFMA events. Specific objectives for the IT forum have included:

·         Educating HFMA members on how technology is enabling healthcare providers and payers to transform to a fee-for-value environment

·         Highlighting the intersection of technology and healthcare finance that showcases the ways in which the CFO suite can use technology to reduce risk, increase clinical quality, and maintain/improve profit margins

·         Discuss the cybersecurity impacts and implications across the healthcare system that are impacting HFMA members

Currently, the HFMA IT Forum is planning an event for the Florida HFMA Spring Conference in April. The main topic/theme is going to be "Healthcare Facility Security" that touches not only on cybersecurity vulnerabilities, but facility management when it comes to vendors, construction workers, credentialing, etc.  The goal is to have a discussion across IT, Supply Chain, Privacy and Compliance to ensure that we are working together and looking at all possible vulnerabilities and each department is in synergy with the next.

We also worked with the HFMA Physician Engagement Committee to prepare a recent MACRA webinar for the Mid-Winter conference, which focused on the MACRA/MIPS program and how that is impacting healthcare providers in the State of Florida. Specific focus was shone on technology and its use in helping providers to promote clinical quality improvements, and better measure and improve clinical quality.



Members News: Volunteer Spotlight Jeff Zade

Volunteer Spotlight

By: Craig Fainstein

Area Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

HFMA Florida Chapter Committee Member

Name: Jeff Zade

Title: Manager of Cost Accounting and Financial Analytics

Organization: Martin Health System

Position within HFMA: Certification Committee Chair

What is your current volunteer role within HFMA?

I chair the Certification Committee.

Where did you grow up, and where do you currently live?

I grew up in the Detroit area, but I lived and worked most of my adult life in Chicago.

Where did you attend college, and what was your area of study?

I attended Northwestern University (near Chicago) after high school and studied economics, but I completed my degree at Walsh College (Michigan) with a B.S in Accounting.

What did you like most about this area of study?

In school I always tended to the Managerial Accounting and Finance related applications of the Accounting field. I didn’t seek out the CPA track like most of my class mates.

Tell us a about your path to Healthcare Finance, and what you enjoy most about it.

I worked in the banking world for years after college and then transitioned to finance positions in the non-profit world. This experience led me to my first healthcare position at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in downtown Chicago. I love working in healthcare as it’s very challenging (not boring) from a finance perspective, and you get to feel good about the fact that you’re helping people, not just trying to sell them something.

How did you become involved with HFMA?

I have known about HFMA for many years but really just became active since my move to Florida in 2011. My boss and several other leaders at Martin are very active with the Florida chapter, and they encourage membership.

What do you most enjoy, and how have you benefited professionally from HFMA?

I enjoy the camaraderie of belonging to Florida HFMA, but it’s the education that I benefit from the most. Healthcare is complex and always changing, so HFMA can be a great aid in staying sharp. 

What are the greatest strengths of the organization you work for, Martin Health System?

The strongest aspect of MHS is the people. My colleagues’ expertise and friendliness are second to none.

What are some of the challenges that you have had to navigate in your leadership role?

The biggest challenge I’ve had to face is trying to accomplish all my responsibilities with limited staff. Healthcare today is extremely data driven, and it takes knowledgeable people to work with data to create actionable results. I’ve spread myself pretty thin at times trying to keep up with decision support requests.

How has healthcare reform shaped or affected operations and finance at Martin Health System?

I think healthcare reform has, and continues to, increase the role of data analytics. Data is especially important with regards to the transition to value over volume. Unfortunately, I don’t think the architects of healthcare reform consider the increased cost of educated staff and new technologies this in their ‘savings’ calculations.

How do you envision Martin Health System, and/or the Healthcare Industry will look in ten years?

I see the progression to quality/value continuing and for the most part I think it will really benefit patients. In the finance world we are going to have to stay informed and proactive, but ultimately I think we will be delivering better quality, less costly care in ten years.

Director of Education Payer Summit Summary

The HFMA Florida Chapter’s Annual Mid-Winter Payor/Provider Conference was held at the Renaissance at Sea World, Orlando, FL January 25 – 27, 2017, kicking off with a Mini-Leadership Training Conference to educate new volunteers about the many benefits of joining HFMA and how to get involved with our chapter. This was brought to us by our President Elect, Mike Bickers.

In her opening address, Lisa Mathews, HFMA Florida Chapter President presented Bob Lovell with the HFMA Chapter Life Member award.

Bob Lovell and Lisa Mathews

Bob Lovell and Lisa Mathews

The keynote session was presented by the CEO of Orlando Health, David Strong, and CFO of Orlando Health, Bernadette Spong.   In this moving educational session, they recounted their experiences and lessons learned from the June 12, 2016, Pulse Night Club shooting. Their focus was the importance of continuous training and mandating simulated drills for unexpected tragedy situations.

Bernadette Spong, CFO, Orlando Health & David Strong, CEO, Orlando Health

Bernadette Spong, CFO, Orlando Health & David Strong, CEO, Orlando Health

During the conference other valuable educational sessions took place including MACRA, MIPS & APM’s; denials management, updates and future expectations from payors such as Atena, Blue Cross, CIGNA, and United Health individually and as a panel discussions.

We rocked the night away with dinner, dancing, and games during our Throwback Thursday networking event. Attendees dressed as they did in high school along with playing games from that era.

A special thanks to all the volunteers of the curriculum committee and our corporate sponsors for making it all happen!

Industry News: 2017 Secrets Revealed

2017 Secrets Revealed: How to Negotiate the Best Deal for Your Organization - by Brady Bragg, CRCR, Litmos Healthcare

Organizations waste billions of dollars every year as a result of poor negotiation and purchasing habits. By seeking to understand more about sales processes and people, you can leverage that knowledge for a net positive purchasing experience as well as recognition for negotiating the best possible deal for your organization.

Tip #1: Identify and communicate clearly with your vendor sales professional, whether you are in an exploratory phase or in serious pursuit to purchase. While it may be obvious to some, it is important to know what phase you are in. Ask yourself: “Do I have a budget, a clear timeline/deadline and, finally, the authority to make a purchase?" If all three questions aren’t a definite yes, you are only exploring. It is best to be honest with a company representative about where you are in the process. This will position you in a favorable light when the time comes.

Tip #2: Never begin by asking for a price. While it is understandable that you may be looking for information to submit for budget, asking for pricing without understanding the value a product or service may bring to your organization, tells a vendor that you aren’t serious about purchasing from them. It’s a sure sign of a “window shopper”, and they will more than likely quote a higher price. Better to investigate and get a price concurrently or delay the price question until later. 

Tip #3: Be honestly curious in your exploration. A sales professional is an expert on their product or service and an open mind may lead to a trove of information you might not be able to ascertain on your own.

Tip #4: Silence is not golden. The more communication the better when you are seriously engaged in a buying process, and even when you have decided not to purchase. To avoid e-mail or phone call overload, set clear expectations with a sales representative with how you like to receive communication and how often. It is likely that a vendor representative will test the limits now and then because it is part of their job to keep things moving. Try not to take this personally and remind them that it’s not the time yet. Nothing drives a sales representative to distraction more than silence. You will earn “brownie points” now or later for your candor and responsiveness.

Tip #5: If you do not have organizational authority to purchase yourself or the clear blessing of those that do, it is better not to pretend that you do. Always try to enlist an executive sponsor (Director or Vice President for example) to help champion your cause. Having an executive on board, even during an exploratory process, will position you for success when you are ready to make your move. If possible, involve the executive sponsor in some of your meetings so that you don’t have to convey value and ROI second hand to them. This will also demonstrate good faith and convey seriousness to the prospective vendor. 

Tip #6: Timing is everything. Sales people, particularly those employed by publicly traded companies, are under considerable pressure to garner new business, often measured monthly, with particular concentration at the end of each calendar quarter – March, June, September and December. You will be in a better position to ask for concessions near the end of a month or quarter when you are ready to purchase.

Tip #7: Ask for what you want and you might well get it! As you shift from research mode and move toward purchasing in thirty to sixty days, schedule a friendly negotiation meeting. Don’t make a commitment to purchase until you are sure the offer meets your needs. For larger purchases over $25,000, a sales representative may have considerable latitude in what they can offer to their favorite prospects. If you think of something extra and have the authority to purchase, don’t be shy about asking for it – nicely. You might even use humor to frame it, or a test question …. “I wonder if it might be possible….” As long as your request is reasonable, it is likely that the vendor representative will at least put in a good word for you. 

Tip #8: Is it time for a meeting? If you are only in the early stages of your process and your purchase is less than $50,000, schedule a virtual meeting to start, particularly if the representative is not located nearby. If you are prepared to move to negotiations and are seriously considering a purchase from the vendor, you may be ready to schedule a face-to-face meeting. Consider that representatives do not always have the discretion to travel or may have strict travel policies. Try to be flexible. For purchases over $50,000, an on-site meeting is usually a reasonable expectation. 

Tip #9: All too often, large organizations are prone to work in silos. Consider the possibility of collaboration and coordination across your company’s silos, which may position your organization for bulk purchase discounts, similar to shopping at a Sam’s Club or Costco. Survey others in your organization to determine whether the product or service may be useful to others and bring them into the process as early as possible. Multiple budgets, a broader need and more supportive voices may build a convincing business case for final approval.

Tip #10: Ask your rep to help you prepare a business case and return on investment (ROI) data to present to those making the final decision to purchase or not to purchase. This might include charts, case studies, positive financial or process improvements, etc… The vendor knows the value of their product or service better than anyone. If you are considering a competitor product, have them prepare side by side comparisons for your top ten product or service related priorities. Remember, however, that not all products are precisely comparable. If you are comparing a chicken nugget to a filet mignon, there may be little fair comparison.

Brady Bragg, a sometimes writer and twenty year sales and management veteran, lives in Pflugerville, Texas with his dog, Lucy. For the past three and a half years, he has helped healthcare organizations improve their training processes and KPI outcomes as a part of Litmos Healthcare. Brady spent the first half of his career working with major non-profit organizations, including Mercy Ships International, Give Kids the World and The American Cancer Society. He has traveled to over forty countries and is conversational in three languages.


Region V Update

Renee’s Region 5 Update

Happy New Year!  It’s hard to believe that the HFMA 2016-2017 chapter year is half over. Yet we still have a lot of important work to do including our big regional event – The Dixie Institute with a theme of #ThriveAtRegion5.  This year’s institute is hosted by the Georgia chapter in Savannah from March 21st - 24th, 2017.  For more information please visit the website  I look forward to seeing many of you there.    

In November I attended the Regional Executive Counsel meeting in Chicago to represent Region 5.  The primary focus of this meeting was to evaluate the Chapter Balance Score Card (CBSC) and the metrics assigned thereto as well as chapter awards.  The CBSC is designed to assists chapters with goal setting and performance tracking of key chapter activities.

I’m excited to announce the following changes to the 2017-2018 CBSC:

·         The CBSC will no longer include elements for Certification, Membership Satisfaction, Board Composition, Days Cash on Hand, and DCMS On time Reporting.  However these elements will be reported to chapter leaders to ensure stability of chapter operations. 

·         The Membership metric has been significantly changed to measure two factors:

o   1.) Member Retention and

o   2.) Growth of new members from the target market segment of physicians, physician groups and health plans.

·         Technology has been added to the Innovation category by requiring chapters to implement the Group Ahead App.  HFMA National has contracted with Group Ahead to provide a mobile app for all chapters.  The app will include calendar of events, posting communications to members and messaging. 

CBSC elements that remain the same for 2017-2018 include Education, Innovation, and Networking.  The Regional Executive Council feels that these changes reflect the voice of the chapter leaders, and focuses on the HFMA strategic goals.  I am confident that the Region 5 chapters will succeed at meeting these goals. 

The Council also approved the recommendations of the Chapters 2.0 Task Force on The Role of Regional Executive.  The Task Force redefined the Role, Qualifications/Competencies and Responsibilities of the Regional Executive as well as the Selection Process.  The selection process will result in the Regional Executive Elect-Elect to be identified earlier in the chapter year thereby allowing additional mentoring time for the Regional Executives.  Additionally, the selection process will be standardized through an application and interview process for all regions.  

Chapters may only have one member serve at a time in one of the three roles (Regional Executive, Regional Executive Elect, and Regional Executive Elect-Elect) to ensure equitable distribution across the chapters.  Regional 5 will begin the selection process for the 2019-2020 Regional Executive in February by seeking nominations of Past Presidents.  Currently the three roles for 2016-2017 are filled by:

Renee Jordan – Regional Executive (Florida Chapter)

Ray High – Regional Executive Elect (South Carolina Chapter)

Karen Newton – Regional Executive Elect-Elect (Georgia Chapter)

We look forward to speaking to those Chapter Past Presidents interested in the role of Regional Executive.  If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to one of us. 

I hope that 2017 is a wonderful year for all! 

Renee Jordan

2016-2017 Regional Executive


Early Careerist Top Golf Event

HFMA Florida’s First Early Careerist Event - Huge Success!

On Tuesday, October 18, 2016, the HFMA FL Early Careerist Committee hosted their first networking event and panel discussion targeting Early Careerists from local universities and healthcare systems.

C-Suite leaders from BayCare Health System, Heart of Florida Medical Center (CHS), HCA, and Orlando Health came together to discuss top trends in healthcare and how early careerists can best position themselves to make an impact in the industry.

The venue, Top Golf, has been recognized for its innovative business model and wide appeal to young people.  It has been featured in Forbes and Inc. as the “millennial whisperer” making it the perfect venue for our first networking event.

Following the panel, attendees enjoyed food and beverages, networking, and golf.  The mentorship started almost immediately as seen in the photos below.  President of the HFMA FL Chapter, Lisa Mathews, and Director of Membership, Dan Phippen, made themselves available to discuss the value of HFMA, to encourage networking, and to learn more about the goals and aspirations of these young people.

The event was a success thanks to the dedicated members of the Early Careerist committee:   Chair, Brad Goodwin; Co-Chair, Joe Dresevic;  University Liaison’s, Ashley MacKendrick; Social Media Chair, Brian McNally; and Jake Schooler.

For more information about how to get involved with the Early Careerist Committee, please contact Committee Chair, Brad Goodwin,, or visit the Florida HFMA website:

Senior Executive Forum – 2nd Annual HFMA Florida Senior Executive Retreat

Congratulations and a special thank you to the planning task force members and event sponsors for the 2nd Annual Senior Executive Retreat hosted on September 29th through October 1st in Clearwater, Florida. The event was an exclusive event for Senior Finance Executives of provider based organizations in Florida. The event hosted keynote industry leading speakers and subject matter experts within key areas of healthcare financial and strategic leadership. The feedback from the Senior Finance Executives in attendance was tremendous and validated the desire for networking among this group and the need to create this forum opportunity in the future. As planning begins for the 2017-18 Chapter year, volunteers and sponsors are needed to assist in planning and funding the 3rd Annual Senior Finance Executive Retreat, so please express your interest directly with one of the Chapter Leaders to get involved.


Volunteer Spotlight - Michael Sitowitz, Controller Parrish Medical Center

Volunteer Spotlight


By: Craig Fainstein

Area Vice President, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

HFMA Florida Chapter Committee Member



Michael Sitowitz




Parrish Medical Center

Position within HFMA

Chair – Audit, Accounting, and Financial Planning Forum



What is your current volunteer role within HFMA?

I chair the Audit, Accounting, and Financial Planning Forum.


Where did you grow up, and where do you currently live?

I grew up in the Bronx, New York. I lived in New York until 1999, and then I moved to Florida. I currently live in Mims, FL.


Where did you attend college, and what was your area of study?

I went to the State University of New York at Binghamton and received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting. I then received a Master of Business Administration, in Healthcare Administration, from the University of Phoenix.


What did you like most about these areas of study?

Working with numbers. They always tell a story. That’s what caught my interest in accounting.


Tell us about your path to Healthcare Finance, and what you enjoy most about it.

My path to healthcare finance started with moving to Florida and starting over. I was in public accounting for the first 14 years, but I always knew I wanted to be a controller, and got a job as a controller at a not-for-profit system. What I like most about it is it’s kind of like a puzzle: you are given all the pieces and you have to make them fit and tell a story.


How did you become involved with HFMA?

I first started attending HFMA back in 2000, and I attended the “Healthcare 101” education session. That was my introduction to healthcare, and I have stayed on as a member ever since. Most recently, 2 years ago, I felt there was a need to bring more accounting, auditing and financial planning to the conferences, so I was brought on as one of the founding chairs of the Audit, Accounting, and Financial Planning Forum.


What do you most enjoy about, and how have you benefited professionally from HFMA?

What I most enjoy about HFMA is the networking ability I have with other members that are like-minded. I’ve benefited by being able to reach out to those professionals, to pick their brains and share ideas. I’ve also benefited by getting my Certified Healthcare Financial Professional (CHFP) certification.


What are the greatest strengths of the organization you work for, Parrish Medical Center?

One of our greatest strengths is that we are very progressive and we always stay ahead of the curve. I will also say that our greatest strength is that we have exceptional quality and safety for the patients and community that we care for.  Parrish Medical Center is the nation’s first to be awarded the Integrated Care Certification by The Joint Commission and we have been awarded straight-A’s in the Hospital Safety Rating from The Leapfrog Group; we are very proud of these accomplishments.


What are some of the challenges that you have had to navigate in your leadership role, and how has healthcare reform shaped or affected operations and finance at your organization?

The biggest challenge that I have in my leadership role is being able to keep up with the myriad changes that are happening in healthcare, and being sure that, from a regulatory perspective, we are in compliance.


How do you envision the healthcare industry will look in ten years?

I think in ten years healthcare is going to look very different. We are going to see more healthcare being delivered in the outpatient setting. Most inpatient settings will become expanded ICUs. I can’t see health systems building new hospitals and new beds when services are consistently changing to the outpatient setting.


Region V Update

Renee’s Region 5 Update

Happy Fall Y’All.  I’m filled with renewed inspiration having just completed the HFMA Fall Presidents Meeting (FPM) in Memphis, Tennessee.  Each year the Presidents and President-Elects from every chapter come together to discuss strategies and to network with their peers.  As Regional Executive (RE), it was my responsibility to organize the regional meeting and to plan the networking events.  Of course that meant a trip to Graceland!  What a great experience! 


The Fall Presidents Meeting kicked off on Sunday with updates from HFMA National.  We received an update on the Chapters 2.0 project and we learned about the HFMA Strategic Direction discussed at this year’s board retreat:


Our Challenge:  How can HFMA lead healthcare stakeholder to meet the challenges of today while creating a sustainable healthcare industry?


Our Audience:  Healthcare Finance Professionals 3-circle CFO’s, Health Insurance Professionals, Physician Leaders, Vendor/Business Partners


·         Easy Access to Relevant Information

·         Collaborate to Define & Influence Change

·         Helping “Audience” Successfully Navigate Complexity & Pace of Change to Support FinancialSustainability

·         Invest in Acquiring, Developing, and Retaining Talent


On Monday and Tuesday we broke out into our regions where we had an opportunity to discuss many national, regional, and chapter topics.  HFMA Secretary/Treasurer, Kevin Brennen, joined us for conversation regarding membership and HFMA Strategies.  Region 5 provided Kevin with feedback from the Chapter Leadership and Chapter Member’s perspective.  Additionally, our region was fortunate to have HFMA staff member, Lorraine Schnelle, present during our meeting.  Lorraine was a wonderful person to bounce ideas off and she took copious notes to bring back to HFMA to share our perspectives.   


The unanimous consensus was that the meeting was informative and productive.  Additionally, the group enjoyed the networking events which allowed them to build relationships with their peers by strengthening the region as a whole. 


In November, I will attend the Regional Executive Council meeting in Chicago to represent Region 5.  The primary focus of this meeting is to evaluate the Chapter Balance Score Card (CBSC) and the metrics assigned as well as chapter awards.  The CBSC is designed to assists chapters with goal setting and performance tracking of key chapter activities.  At the FPM, the Presidents and President-Elects of Region 5 shared their ideas for possible changes to the CBSC.  I look forward to bringing these recommendations to the REC meeting and to effect some meaningful modifications to the CBSC.   

I wish everyone a peaceful and healthy holiday season!




Renee Jordan - Region V Regional Executive (RE)

Renee Jordan - Region V Regional Executive (RE)

Better Together, Let's Do This - Florida and Alabama Joint Conference

“Better Together, Let’s Do This,” was the theme for this year’s joint meeting with the Alabama Chapter. The multi-day conference took place between September 25th  through September 28th  in beautiful Destin Florida. The destination was ideal for this joint chapter meeting; and the Florida weather was perfect this time of the year.

Planning the meeting was a joint effort and members from both chapters held weekly meetings to discuss curriculum, select speakers, and plan the social activities. Each chapter brought forward a few of their best practices that have been successful at past meetings.

The conference kicked off with an inspirational speech from Coach Bill Curry. His presentation set the tone for two and half days of learning. The agenda was packed with updates on MACRA, Bundled Payment Models, Legislative Discussion, and ended on a Florida tradition with Provider Speed Best Practices.

The conference was filled with lots of great networking opportunities for the members from both chapters to connect, learn from one another, and be inspired!

Conference attendees demonstrated their passion for giving by supporting a silent auction held to raise money for the LA flood victims. The HFMA Alabama & Florida Chapters were proud to present the HFMA Louisiana Chapter with a check for $2,100 to support the Baton Rouge Area Foundation and the families impacted by the recent flooding.