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Insights and Trends

2024 C-suite Post-Acute Priorities: An HFMA and Lifepoint Survey

Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)1 and Lifepoint Rehabilitation partnered on a survey of 100 hospital executives sourced from across the nation. The survey explored key challenges and opportunities around post-acute services, including top healthcare trends, improving the patient experience and service line expansion/development opportunities.

Key findings from the survey include:

    • Following what has been a straining year for both financial stability and clinical staffing, more than 80% of health leaders report that financial performance and rebounding labor shortages will continue to be a strong focus for hospitals heading into the new year.

      To effectively address these challenges, hospitals plan to:
        • Compete with rising staff wages.
        • Re-evaluate staff benefits.
        • Integrate technology to assist with care delivery and performance.
    • Denials management was one of the top strategic priorities for 2024. Regulatory changes, including the implementation of CMS’s Review Choice Demonstration, rising denial rates and the continued discussions around prior authorizations are just a few of the factors making this a top concern for leadership.
    • 50% of hospitals have already planned to integrate behavioral health services into their care continuum to stay ahead of shifting patient needs. A growing number seen year-over-year.
    • In addition to behavioral health integration, a majority of respondents note they are prioritizing keeping patients within their same care continuum to avoid treatment disruption and prolonged length of stay.
        • To achieve this, hospitals are looking to not only expand their service lines, but improve existing care quality and efficiency through the implementation of top-rated technology solutions, specialized treatment and rehabilitation best practices.
    • When asked about market expansion opportunities, health leaders reported on their current strategies, upcoming opportunities and latest challenges. These include:
        • Strategy: 75% of hospitals are now investing in outpatient and/or ambulatory surgery centers as another way of keeping patients in the same care continuum.
        • Opportunity: A majority of hospitals are already using or are considering co-locating service lines – such as OP, inpatient rehabilitation and behavioral health – as part of their market expansion strategy.
        • Challenge: Maintaining operational excellence and raising needed capital are among the biggest concerns for hospitals – behind recruiting and retaining staff.

Final Takeaways

Although staffing challenges and financial uncertainty remain top concerns heading into 2024, hospitals are continuing to see the benefit of joint venture and contract management partnerships, as nearly 70% of the survey respondents state they are considering a strategic partnership in the new year.

Having the right post-acute partner can not only help address these trends, but it can allow hospitals to set their sights on new opportunities, such as new service line integration and leveraging ways to enhance the patient experience and staying ahead of ongoing regulatory changes.

Is your hospital experiencing these challenges and/or looking for a way to meet growing demand in your community? Contact us to learn how Lifepoint can help your hospital stay ahead of shifting needs both now and in the future.

View HMFA’s full survey results.


  1. HFMA, (August 2023), Service line trends survey Summary Report, [PowerPoint Slides], Healthcare Financial Management Association

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