Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Family: Married with three children
Hobbies: I enjoy reading, exercising and sports, including the Louisville Cards.
Currently reading: Daily – The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and other various finance/healthcare related journals. The Rise and Fall of American Growth, by Robert Gordon, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, by J.D. Vance.
Medical News: How’d you end up being CFO at Family Health Centers?
Samuel Riddick: After working in the for-profit healthcare corporate sector for many years, I felt something was missing from my own personal focus to give back to our community. I wanted my employment to offer and use the skills I acquired in corporate finance and advancement to benefit a unique and challenging environment.
When I met Bill Wagner, CEO of Family Health Centers (FHC), I was immediately impressed with his commitment of 30 plus years and his vision of what FHC brings to our community. When this position became available, I knew it could be wonderful partnership and I am thankful for the opportunity.
MN: So, what’s it like?
SR: I’ve had a lot to learn about the non-profit healthcare space, moreover, working within a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC). There are many more external barriers to consider and overcome, especially as it relates to an FQHC’s unique reimbursement designation.
It has been challenging to be involved with a company that relies on so many diverse funding streams and the compliance and regulatory hurdles to ensure compliance. Yet, the challenges have been immensely rewarding. I’ve enjoyed the constant diversity of the projects and team/collaborative approach to ensure success and long-term viability.
MN: How’s it different than you expected?
SR: It has been wonderful to work with such compassionate team whose primary focus is a patient centered medical home model. Everyone within the organization works tirelessly to improve their outreach and services to meet the needs of our patients which propels me to do whatever I can to make it possible to achieve positive health outcomes.
The continual struggle of bureaucratic policy and fluctuation of governmental support remains a challenge, yet we continue to use these barriers as ways to bring awareness and education to our community.
MN: What’s been the hardest part?
SR: The most difficult part of my role is relying on ever changing funding sources to meet patient healthcare needs, which allows FHC to continue to provide primary care services regardless of the patient’s financial status and ability to pay. There are a lot of moving parts to consider with every decision and choice, but that is also what makes every day exciting.
MN: How is consolidation in healthcare affecting the healthcare system?
SR: The healthcare system is at a significant inflection point. Both horizontal and vertical mergers are creating disruption and synergistic opportunities across subsectors of the healthcare industry. The latest round of proposed acquisitions between CVS-Aetna, Cigna-Express Scripts, Walmart-Humana are predicated on the notion of leveraging health insurance, pharmacy and urgent care within a conglomerated model.
The phenomenon of urgent care clinics supplanting primary care visits in an on-demand world provides patients and payors with alternatives to traditional primary care. However, some research has evidenced adding retail clinics may increase, not reduce the overall direct costs of care.
The notion of payors leveraging primary care providers and their corresponding suppliers within a vertically-integrated conglomerated model may provide cost savings. However, by reducing supply and limiting patient choices could potentially bend the overall health spending curve upwards.
MN: What keeps you up at night?
SR: As the CFO of FHC, I’m constantly faced with many external complex and competing forces in the healthcare environment that create volatility within our organization. To mitigate this volatility, FHC’s finance strategy is to promote a laser focus on revenue cycle process improvements and technology initiatives to address increases in uncompensated care, bad debt, and collections.
As we continue to see disruption in the healthcare market from a mergers and acquisition, legislative, funding and technology viewpoint, it will become critical to adapt and focus on the most important and essential component of our mission and vision – the patient. By positioning our revenue cycle to be aligned with patient-centered care, we ultimately believe we will differentiate ourselves as a market and industry leader.
MN: What can Kentucky do to create a better healthcare environment?
SR: Kentucky was a leader and pioneer in the implementation of the ACA. In 2014, with the development of its State-Based exchange (Kynect) and embracing Medicaid expansion Kentucky’s uninsured rate fell 13 percentage points drop from 21 percent in 2013 to eight percent during 2015 as published by The Commonwealth Fund.
There are multiple factors that led to Kentucky’s successful implementation: resilient leadership and partnership, integrated state-based eligibility system for Medicaid and ACA Marketplace coverage coupled with coordinated state and federal supported outreach and enrollment efforts.
Although, the current administration has abolished the state-based exchange and threatened to repeal Medicaid expansion, we believe Kentucky can and will continue to promote responsive health policy.
Several key policy areas that continue to improve the healthcare needs for Kentucky residents are the following: increasing access to care while strengthening local public health, working collaboratively with social service agencies to mitigate social determinants of health and improve overall health outcomes.
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