12 'Must-Do' Strategies for Protecting Future Margins

Executive Summary

Every health care executive knows that pressures on the financial bottom line are already intense and growing stronger—but their goal should be sustainable margins, not cost reduction.

In the past, health care organizations have weathered downturns by cutting costs and holding on until the economic environment improves. But that approach will not be enough this time around. The basic financial realities of the industry are changing permanently, and providers won’t be able to stay above water just by slashing expenses.

The good news is that most providers can maintain a sustainable financial position if they make the right moves in the coming years. But to do so, they’ll need to look beyond cost cutting to take a broader view of margin management.

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The 12 ‘Must-Do’ Strategies for Protecting Future Margins

Smarter cost control

Why you should focus on cost growth, not cost cutting
You can't continue to cut costs to balance your books—but you can invest in innovations that will reduce the growth rate of your expenses instead. Watch the video.

  • Reduce the growth rate of your expenses
  • Implement lower-cost and "top-of-license" patient care staffing models
  • Make your employees more accountable for their own health costs
  • Use purchasing processes that maximize value for everyone
  • Minimize unwarranted care variation
  • Standardize practices across clinics and ambulatory sites of care

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Better revenue management

Cutting costs? You can’t succeed on expenses alone.
In addition to slowing down cost growth, don't forget to focus on revenue and market share gains—before coverage expansion occurs. Watch the video.


  • Eliminate common sources of revenue leakage
  • Compete for procedural market share
  • Use scale to gain efficiency and competency
  • "Rightsize" services at each site of care
  • Pursue risk-based reimbursement
  • Craft a compelling product for all your stakeholders

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