Winter Issue

January 2015 

The Maine Chapter of HFMA is continuing its newsletter contest!   

Congratulations to Susan Wright from 
Maine Medical Center on winning the 
October newsletter contest! 

(For contest details, check out the right panel below) 

Message from the President



Thanks to those of you who took time out of your busy schedules to complete the Annual HFMA Chapter Survey for the Maine Chapter.  Based on your responses over 81% of our members are either very satisfied or extremely satisfied with our Maine Chapter.  While this exceeds our Chapter Balanced Scorecard goal of 60% we are continually looking for ways to improve.  The survey responses have provided us with great feedback and brainstorming ideas as we begin to think about our educational programming in the coming year.  Leadership will begin planning in March for the 2015-2016 Chapter year.  If you have additional thoughts on how we can continue to improve the Chapter please feel free to contact me or any Chapter officer.  Thank you for helping make this such a great Chapter!


In recent years, the Chapter has had to reschedule educational programs in February & March due to inclement weather.  This year, the Chapter decided to not schedule any events in February and early March.  As a result, our next educational program "Accounting Update" is scheduled for March 27th in Freeport.  We are also considering adding a program in April on the IRS 501(r) final regulations.  Save the date!  The 2015 annual meeting has been scheduled for September 10th & 11th at the Bar Harbor Regency.  Please visit the Maine Chapter website for further information on upcoming events.


Over the past five months, the Chapter has been collecting raffle tickets from members attending educational programs for a free early bird HFMA Annual National Institute (ANI) registration ($1,000 value) and a $500 visa gift card towards travel expenses.  The more programs attended, the more chances at winning this great prize.  I am pleased to announce that Julius Ciembronewicz, Attorney at Kelly Remmel & Zimmerman was drawn as the lucky winner during the recent Hot Topics program on January 15th.  This year's ANI is being held in Orlando on June 22nd - 25th.  Congratulations Julius!


I am excited to reveal that the Chapter has rolled out a new scholarship program and will fund four $500 scholarships for this year.  The application period is currently open through April 30th.  Scholarship recipients will be notified by June 1st.  Please visit the Chapter's website at for more information.


Also in the coming weeks, we will be asking for your vote as we elect the officers and board members to serve the Chapter in the next year.  Prior to the election, information on the candidates will be made available.


Thank you to our members, sponsors and volunteers for your contributions to our Chapter. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the Chapter, or are interested in becoming more involved please contact me.




Denis Houle

President 2014-2015

Maine Chapter of HFMA

Phone: (207) 791-7548


Featured Article


Proper Physician Documentation: More than Just Your Bottom Line

By: John D. Zelem, MD, FACS

Executive Medical Director of Client Relations and Education,

Executive Health Resources, Newtown Square, PA






I highly doubt that anyone would argue that accurate and complete physician documentation is essential, but there are definitely a number of clear cut benefits - beyond helping to ensure proper reimbursement is received from cases submitted. 


Physician documentation in the medical record helps provide the cornerstone of medical necessity that not only can help validate the level of patient care provided, but also help to ensure proper reimbursement to the hospital.






Click here to read full article 


CMS Issues Final  Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment Services Rule  for 2015


By Janet Hodgdon, CPA, CPC


On October 31, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final 2015 rule for Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment Services (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Centers.  The rule, which goes into effect on January 1, 2015, finalizes many of the changes outlined in the proposed rule issued earlier this year


To read full article click here



Potential Risks of New Managed Care Contracts

Written by:  Cheri S. Kane, FHFMA, FACMPE, PwC, Managing Director, Emily Anne Nolte, PwC, Sr. Associate



The new healthcare economy is giving rise to a new set of risks for providers. Health plans are increasing providers' risk by raising patient deductibles and copayment amounts as well as negotiating incentive and withhold pools. PwC's employer benefit survey, released in June 2014 (Touchstone Survey), showed that 67% of employers are offering high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). And these plans are growing in popularity among employees - 26% of employees at the companies surveyed are enrolled in a high-deductible plan, up from 17% in 2012. Forty-four percent of employers are now considering complete HDHP replacement products in the future. Almost half (49%) of employers are choosing plans with deductibles of $1,000 or more and out-of-pocket maximums of $3,000 for in-network care. The bottom line for providers - provider reimbursement is continuing to decline and self-pay balances are increasing.







A Project Update on Not-for-Profit Entities


Written by W. Karl Baker, CPA, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP and Joseph Lopatosky, CPA, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP


On November 9, 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") chairman announced the addition of two projects intended to improve financial reporting for not-for-profit entities. Since that time, ongoing discussions have been held with a project resource group as well as members of the Not-for-Profit Advisory Committee (NAC).  The projects are focusing on improving (1) net asset classification requirements and (2) information provided in financial statements and disclosures about liquidity, financial performance, and cash flows.  The FASB met and discussed updates as recently as July 23, 2014.  Although nothing is finalized, we thought our readership would be interested in potential developments that would significantly impact financial reporting for not-for-profits, likely including health care organizations.  



2015 Non-Monetary Compensation to Physicians

Written by Hall Render



Under the federal Stark Law, hospitals may provide non-monetary compensation to physicians up to an aggregate amount of $392 for calendar year 2015.  The dollar limit for "medical staff incidental benefits" (e.g., meals, parking and other items or incidental services that are used on the hospital's campus) has been increased to less than $33 per occurrence.  Other requirements of the Stark Law's exception for non-monetary compensation and medical staff incidental benefits also need to be met. Hospitals should take inventory of such non-monetary compensation and benefits to confirm they are meeting the law's requirements.  





Click here to read full article  

New Member Spotlight


Name: Amy Voss


Position:Patient Centered Care Consultant Sr, Enhanced Personal Health Care Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield 


BEACON:   In your mind, what's the best way to keep a competitive edge?


VOSSI've partnered with a mentor this year at Anthem and one of the things I've learned is that to keep growing you have to get out of your comfort zone once and a while.  At her suggestion I joined HFMA which has given me the opportunity to network with people I wouldn't otherwise have met. I think those connections are what help anyone keep a competitive edge in today's workforce.

BEACONWhat's new and exciting happening at your hospital/organization?


VOSS: I'm part of a new program at Anthem BCBS called Enhanced Personal Health Care. I work with providers throughout the state of Maine sharing population health reports to help them make quality improvements in their organization. I started with the program in May of 2013 and have learned so much about the great work in healthcare that is going on in our state.   


BEACONWhat is it like to work in your hospital/organization? 


VOSS: I really enjoy working at Anthem. They strongly encourage education and career development.  I always feel supported by the leadership to try new things. It's wonderful to be in an environment where you can learn new skills and have the opportunity to apply those skills in your work. 

BEACON: What is your favorite Maine Chapter of HFMA event?


VOSS: I've only attended a few events so far, but I really enjoyed the annual seminar at Hollywood Casino in Bangor this year. It was a nice blend of speakers and I appreciated the time available to network in a casual environment.


BEACON: What is your favorite book/hobby?


VOSS: I love to read. My favorites from this year are This is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper, I Feel Bad About my Neck, by Nora Ephron and an old classic, the Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough.  I also really love cookbooks of all kinds, but I especially like the ones that tell a story along with the recipes.  One of my favorites is The Margaret Rudkin Pepperidge Farm Cookbook that I purchased at a library book sale a long time ago. It tells the story of how the company came to be and has beautiful illustrations throughout.  



Interviewed by Geanette Treadway, Southern Maine Healthcare


The Top 10 Information Security Risks for 2015

Chris Ellingwood, Manager, BerryDunn



For our annual "Top 10 List of IT Security Risks," we focus on the perimeter of your network and monitoring controls. Securing your systems and, more importantly, monitoring them for suspicious activity reduces your risk of breaches. Developing an enterprise-wide approach to data security, supported by management, is the best way to protect your business in 2015.



Click here to read full article

CFO Spotlight: C. Bruce Sandstrom, The Aroostook Medical Center (TAMC) in Presque Isle, Maine


Bruce will talk about his career in the northern reaches of our great state and bring his perspective on working in Healthcare, the changes he has seen over a very dedicated career and his love of the region and out of doors.


Sandstrom: I began my career in healthcare finance almost 38 years ago at what was then the A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital (which later merged with a hospital in Mars Hill to become TAMC). I have spent my entire career in healthcare including a few years in consulting at Arthur Young & Company; but for the last 28 years I have served as the CFO at TAMC.


Beacon: When did you decide you wanted to work in healthcare?


Sandstrom: It was quite by chance actually and happened as I was about to graduate from Husson College with a degree in accounting.  My former long- time boss, David Peterson, CFO at the time, had just created a new position at A. R. Gould Hospital.  It was called a Budget/Reimbursement Specialist. Since I was a native of Aroostook County, having grown up in Stockholm, I applied and was hired for the job. And as they say, the rest is history.


Beacon: What is the biggest change that you have seen over the years?


Sandstrom: By far, it would be a change in technology. My first job included doing monthly budget variance reports on paper with a pencil and calculator (and a big eraser!) Our Accounts Receivable and General Ledger cards were done on manual posting machines. I remember trying to balance the general ledger at the end of every month. When you didn't balance, the first thing you did was look behind the desk to see if a few cards had fallen out of the tray and had been inadvertently excluded from the adding machine tape. One of my other duties was the annual cost report. It too was done manually with a pencil and calculator. When you made a mistake at the beginning of the step-down schedule, it wasn't a pretty picture as you would need to start all over at the beginning. Of course, computers came in to being soon after this and today's technological advances are well known to all of us who work in the field.


Beacon: What other changes have you seen in your role as CFO at TAMC?


Sandstrom: There have been constant and numerous changes but there are some that stand out above others. The change in reimbursement systems from cost-based to prospective for Medicare and now MaineCare was a pretty fundamental sea change. We also had a rate setting agency in Maine known as the Maine Healthcare Finance Commission. MHCFC, as it was called, provided each hospital with a gross patient service revenue target that it was not to exceed. MHCFC went by the way side after a few years but it did create some interesting accounting while it was around. I remember discussions with our auditors about recording additional revenue because we had not charged up to our annual limit. Now, how crazy was that? Probably the biggest change that has affected my role at TAMC was the decision to join Eastern Maine Healthcare. TAMC has always been a forward thinking progressive organization and it was the first hospital outside Bangor to join the Eastern Maine system back in 1999. For the past 15 plus years we have been working together to become more efficient and to improve the services that we are able to offer our patients in rural northern Maine. 


Beacon: How did you become involved in HFMA and what are some of your early memories of it?


Sandstrom: David Peterson was a member and brought me along with him to a meeting back in 1977. I began going to more of the meetings and soon joined the organization. I remember studying for the fellowship exam and travelling to Bangor one Saturday morning to sit for the test. I think things were a little simpler back in those days and I was fortunate enough to pass the exam on my first try. Back then we used to have a regional annual meeting that included the chapters in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and I think a few other states. I remember attending one the regional meetings in Kennebunkport. Ken Hews had arranged for the entertainment following the nightly banquet. Many of the younger generation are probably not old enough to remember the Bud Leavitt show that used to air on Saturday nights out of Bangor. One of Bud's frequent guests went by the screen name of Bill Gagnon. Ken introduced "Bill Gagnon" to the audience at the banquet as the guest speaker and the Canadian Minister of Health. Bill began delivering his speech in his usual broken English with a heavy French accent. Eventually the crowd figured out that it was an act, but before they did it was quite entertaining for us folks from Maine who were familiar with him.


Beacon: Why would you encourage people to join and become active in HFMA?


Sandstrom: Being involved in HFMA is a great way to access educational programs and to meet your colleagues in the industry. Maine is a large State geographically but it is really a small state in terms of the number of hospitals and healthcare organizations. HFMA is a great way to get to know others around the state and to learn from each other. It is also a lot of fun. It's great to occasionally get away from the everyday routine at the office and to participate in an HFMA event. Maine HFMA has a long history of being one of the top chapters in the Country and in order to sustain this reputation it needs everyone's active participation.


Beacon: In closing, what do you like to do outside of work?


Sandstrom: I have a four season camp in the woods off the grid where I enjoy vegetable gardening, cutting wood, 4-wheeling, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, hunting and fishing. My wife, Connie, has several flower gardens there that she loves to work in. By far, my biggest passion is following the Red Sox. Connie and I attend Spring Training each year in Ft. Myers and make a few trips to Boston during the season. Over the years we have been fortunate to witness two Red Sox no-hitters and several post season games including the Shane Victorino grand slam to clinch the 2013 ALCS.



Submitted by:  Chrissi Harding, VP Finance, CFO, MDI Hospital

In This Issue
Newsletter Contest

The Maine Chapter of HFMA is continuing its newsletter contest!  

The National HFMA has announced a new theme for the upcoming year -

"Leading the Change".


As you read the newsletter, look for this logo:



 It could be ANYWHERE so make sure to click on the full article links as you search for the logo. Once you find it, send an e-mail with your name and the location of the logo to Lisa Trundy-Whitten at


 You could win a $50 gift certificate to L.L. Bean!!


All entries must be submitted by February 13th. A winner will be drawn on February 16th, 2015.


  Happy reading! 



To Our






maine recovery
Thomas agency










Welcome New Members!


Mary A Violette
Revenue Cycle Analyst

Laura Wilkes
Revenue Cycle Analyst

John Marnell
Senior Revenue Cycle Analyst


Lauren Murphy

Revenue Cycle Analyst


Eric Johnson

Revenue Cycle Analyst


Scott Good
Senior Consultant
Crescendo Consulting Group

Angela Colucci
Accounting Supervisor
Maine Medical Center

Randy Albert
Decision Support
St. Joseph Healthcare


Elise Bolda

Chair, Graduate Program in Public Health
Muskie School, USM

Upcoming Education Events
Save the Date


 Accounting Update

Friday, March 27, 2015
Hilton Garden Inn, Freeport



Region 1 Annual Meeting

May 20-21, 2015

Mohegan Sun Casino, CT


2015 Maine Chapter of HFMA Annual Meeting
September 10-11, 2015
 Bar Harbor, ME

Also, check out this free Webinar: 

February 12, 2015
Preparing For Your Upcoming CHNA 
For complete list, visit our 






February 17, 2015

Navigating a Return on Investment to Transition to Value-Based Care

2:00 to 3:30 pm CST 



February 19, 2015

Implications of Final IRS 501(R) Rules for Hospitals

2:00 to 3:30 pm CST


 March 19, 2015

Pre-eligibility Screening of Your Supply Chain Data 

2:00 to 3:30 pm CST


 February 5, 2015

Virtual HFMA Conference

To Register, click here 


To access full list of educational webinars click here:


ME HFMA Newsletter Committee 

Lisa Trundy-Whitten, Chair,

(207) 541-2263


Laurie Melanson, Committee Member,


Stephanie Richio, Committee Member,


David Kennedy, Committee Member, 


Christina Harding, Committee Member,



Next e-Beacon

April 2015

Did you miss a Beacon publication? Visit Maine Chapter of HFMA website to view past issues:


Past Newsletters



We are always looking for new ideas and content to improve our newsletter. If you would like to join the Newsletter Commitee or would like to submit comments or ideas, please contact Lisa Trundy-Whitten at