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Cottage Hospital CFO, Ann Duffy, MHA, featured on HealthLeaders Finance Podcast

Posted By Dhaniele Duffy on May 20 2021


HealthLeaders Finance Editor Jack O'Brien speaks with Ann Duffy, MHA, at the HealthLeaders Spring CFO Exchange in Naples, Florida about the challenges facing rural healthcare organizations. 

Below is a transcript from this episode of the HealthLeaders Finance Podcast.

From the Exchange, Ann Duffy, MHA, CFO of Cottage Hospital, a 25-bed facility located in Woodsville, New Hampshire spoke about the challenges facing rural healthcare organizations.

This transcript has been edited for clarity and brevity.

HealthLeaders: Ann, this is your first time attending the CFO Exchange, so how has the experience been for you so far? What have been the top takeaways from your conversations with your fellow hospital and health system CFOs?

Duffy: Yeah, [with it] being my first time attending, I didn't know what to expect. The format, the thought leadership, and the different CFOs from various sized organizations have been interesting. Speaking with different people, you realize that big or small, we’re all facing the same challenges.

[I enjoyed] the morning sessions and open discussions around the challenges we’re all facing, and then coming back to present solutions. I found that very valuable. Again, seeing that there were a lot of similar challenges we're all facing and being able to hear some other leaders’ solutions and ideas they have had that I maybe hadn't thought about.

HL: How was the experience of leading a rural health organization through the pandemic? What is the current financial and operational status of Cottage more than a year after the spread of COVID-19 began?

Duffy: For Cottage, we're an independent standalone hospital and one of a few [organizations] left in New Hampshire that are not affiliated with a larger health system. That has its pros and cons; one of the biggest benefits is that we can be nimble and adapt quickly.

We stood up our incident command at the end of January 2020, early on [in the pandemic.] Our CNO was right on top of it, and we felt we were as prepared as we could be going into this. Our staff was phenomenal, and our community embraced the hospital. I think on the positive side of the pandemic, it gave the community a new appreciation for [Cottage] and everyone came together to help their neighbors.

From a financial standpoint, we saw a 55% decrease in volume when the elective surgeries came to a halt. But we were proactive in communicating with our community, educating them, and letting them know we were still here for them. Their hospital is here, we are still open, so don't be afraid to seek care. We let them know what our safety precautions were and what their experience would be when they came back. We tried to alleviate that fear to get people back into the system.

To read the full transcript, click here.