Health Care Financial Management for Leaders in Academic Health Centers

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Online Program Overview

Despite having extensive medical expertise, physician leaders have not always developed the financial literacy needed to manage organizations and create financially sound strategies for delivering health care.

There are many unique components in health care that significantly enhance the importance of financial management control – and can also make it challenging to assume fiscal responsibilities. This includes recent shifts in U.S. health care policy towards payment structures that incent high quality and efficient care, a refocus on value-based care from volume-based care, as well as an increased emphasis on cost containment and quality measurement.

This online program will increase physician leaders’ competence in the critical area of financial management and control. Led by Harvard experts, you will benefit from a combination of learning approaches, such as case studies and interactive classroom discussions.

Key financial concepts covered in this course include:

  • Differential Costs
  • Full Cost Accounting
  • Management Control Structure

You will learn methods for determining the full cost of delivering health care, examine fixed costs, variable costs, total cost, as well as when differential costs should be used rather than full costs.

By the end of the program, you will have the understanding and skills to more effectively manage the planning- and control-related activities of your department or division. This includes the ability to interact more effectively with the finance personnel in your hospital and practice settings.

Value-Based Care vs. Volume-Based Care

 Value-based care is increasingly becoming more prominent in health care delivery. In a value-based care payment model, revenue is at risk and dependent on quality and containing total medical expense for populations. This differs from the more traditional volume-based – or fee-for-service – payment model. Most academic health centers have patients in both value and volume-based payment models. The conflicting incentives in these payment models create constant tensions and management challenges.

As a result, it is difficult for hospital and health systems to work together with physicians to achieve target income and value-based payment goals. Physician leaders are better equipped to manage the population health management programs that can help achieve goals surrounding value-based care when they understand how risk contracts work financially. These goals include improving the health of patient populations and lowering the cost of care.

Objectives & Highlights

Learning Objectives

Within a learning environment that will facilitate career growth, you will develop an understanding in the following critical areas:

  • The practical application of cost accounting and management control concepts in health care
  • Basic knowledge of cost accounting, including full cost and differential cost accounting
  • Management control structure and processes
  • Financial implications to consider when shifting from volume- to value-based care

Program Highlights

By developing financial literacy taught in this course, you will be better able to:

  • Successfully manage planning- and control-related activities
  • Effectively interact with finance leaders in the C-suite and the Boards of your organizations
  • Respond and manage cost containment with shrinking resources
  • Lead your own division and/or department in developing and practicing financially responsible approaches in health care delivery

Credits and Logistics

Continuing Education Credit

All participants will receive a Certificate of Participation upon completion of the program.

Who Should Apply

This program has been specifically designed for physicians holding management-level positions in Academic Health Centers in the United States or Canada. Physicians with the following titles are strongly encouraged to apply:

  • Assistant VP
  • Chair
  • Chief Medical Officer
  • Chief Operating Officer
  • Director
  • Division Chief
  • Executive Director
  • Senior VP
  • Service Line Leader
  • VP

Current or recent past experience would include:

  • Managing a substantial budget and/or profit and loss (P&L) responsibility
  • Managing other physicians, other patient care service managers/leaders, and administrative staff
  • Leading/managing a substantial program such as Quality & Safety, Clinical Service Line, The Patient Experience

Individuals interested in this program may also benefit from our online program Conflict, Feedback, and Negotiation for Leaders in Academic Health Centers.