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Top 9 strategic planning stories in 2016: Population health, Joe Biden and Zika dominate

Northwell Health's massive rebranding campaign leads off, followed by how population health and workforce management can help systems cut costs.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Michael Dowling, CEO Northwell Health. Their massive rebranding campaign tops our list of strategic planning coverage in 2016.Michael Dowling, CEO Northwell Health. Their massive rebranding campaign tops our list of strategic planning coverage in 2016.

Strategic planning is a broad term, and our list of the top 9 strategic planning stories reflects that: Population health, branding, Joe Biden and the Zika virus all make appearances. Whether it was the minutiae of cost-cutting measures or the sweeping scope of grand policy initiatives, Healthcare Finance was there -- and these are our picks for the strategic planning stories that mattered most.

Northwell's epic foray into large-scale rebranding

The former North Shore-Long Island Jewish health system had a problem, albeit a good one. While the system was already among the biggest in New York, the "Long Island" moniker was keeping it from broader name recognition beyond the boundaries of that suburban area. To fix that, CEO Michael Dowling led his team through an exhaustive rebranding process that pushed the system's marketing muscle and leaned on the past experiences of other major system rebrandings.

Because in an era where patients are now consumers, brand matters in healthcare. Read more.

Population health, workforce management can reign in costs

As hospitals and health systems face constant revenue stream pressures, financial managers are leveraging cost containment strategies that lean on population health, supply chain management and salary adjustments as a way trim costs.

When it comes to population health, the concept is simple: Keep people healthy, prevent them from over-utilizing the system, and they won't come back for unnecessary follow-up care. Read more.

The way to patients' hearts is through their stomachs

The era of value-based reimbursement is making patient satisfaction a costly thing to ignore, and that goes for the operating room right down to the hospital cafeteria.

It's with that in mind that many hospital leaders are putting extra attention not only into the food served at hospitals, but the look and feel of the cafeterias as well. Read more.

Direct employer contracting cuts out the middleman

John Clark, population health program manager at UNC Health Care, said direct employer contracts that cut out intermediaries and can really help a health system contain costs. But the approach comes with some risks. Read more.

Collaboration on incentives is needed to curb opioid epidemic

To cure the country's opioid addiction crisis, collaboration on aligned incentives is needed between insurers, providers, and the pharmaceutical industry, Cigna CEO and President David Cordani said during the America's Health Insurance Plans conference in Las Vegas last week.

In May, Cigna announced it would help curb the country's opioid epidemic by cutting the use of those drugs among its own customers by 25 percent. Read more.

Biden shoots for the moon when it comes to battling cancer

At the Cancer Moonshot Summit in Washington on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden announced a long list of federal and health industry initiatives meant to harness technological and clinical advances to make significant headway in the fight against the disease. Read more.

Clinton tells Congress to come back and deal with spreading Zika virus

Hillary Clinton urged Congress to return to Washington and approve Zika funding for treatment, research and testing.

Her response echoes that of many Congressional Democrats, who are frustrated the House left for vacation without passing viable legislation to fund Zika efforts. The House also rejected President Obama's request for $1.9 billion and the Senate compromise of $1.1 billion. Read more.

Community Health Systems dumping hospitals to pay off its debt

Community Health Systems, which has been shedding hospitals in an effort to raise money and pay down its debt, will be putting even more hospitals up for sale, adding five more to the 12 hospitals already on the block. Read more.

Northwell says struggling Brooklyn safety net hospitals should consolidate

A long-awaited report by Northwell Health on how to ensure the survivability of four struggling Brooklyn hospitals commissioned by the state Department of Health is suggesting the hospitals merge into one regional health system.

Northwell's 37-point plan recommends the consolidation of the four hospitals -- Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Interfaith Medical Center, Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center -- into a single entity to share resources and align their governance and management. Read more.

Twitter: @HC_Finance

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