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Five Critical Access Hospitals Attended Financial Institute

Mar 28, 2024

The North Dakota Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program, provided funding for five North Dakota Critical Access Hospital (CAH) representatives to attend the North Dakota Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) Annual Institute in Bismarck this past February.

The training included updates from the Workforce Safety & Insurance, the North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services Behavioral Health, and the North Dakota legislature. Topics also covered included Medicare, Noridian, payer accountability and the patient perception, denials, and artificial intelligence, among others.


Attendees included a CEO, two CFOs, a business office manager, and a revenue cycle director. The five CAHs who attended included:

Nicole Threadgold

The North Dakota Flex Program is housed at the Center for Rural Health (CRH) within the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences.

“Financial and Operational Improvement is a core area of the North Dakota Flex Program for providing support to North Dakota’s CAHs,” said Nicole Threadgold, senior project coordinator at CRH. “It’s important to support attendance of North Dakota CAHs at educational events such as this so they may learn of important industry trends and updates, and establish networking relationships with their peers.

Benefits of Attending

Many attendees found being able to hear updates and meet with payors very beneficial. Karen Brown, revenue cycle director from Mountrail County Medical Center said, “Sanford, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Workforce Safety & Insurance, and the other payors gave insight to what is coming in the future. I was also able to find representatives for future issues that may arise.”

Marcus Lewis, CEO of First Care Health Center agreed. “Updates from payors will help our organization strategize and plan for the future in this ever-changing landscape.”

Other attendees noted that the opportunity to network was a huge benefit. Pete Antonson, CFO of Northwood Deaconess Health Center appreciated making connections within the HFMA community and said, “The cybersecurity session was excellent.”

Janet Herman, business office manager of Nelson County Health System, enjoyed getting to meet new contacts from other healthcare facilities. She also appreciated hearing about upcoming trends that were shared and changes to payer information.

Overall, the North Dakota CAH representatives all felt their experiences were worthwhile and would strengthen their CAH for the future. Derek Schaff, CFO/COO of Linton Regional Medical Center said he would recommend the training to others in hospital administration. “I hope to bring more individuals to this training in the future.”

Financial Management

HFMA is a professional organization with a diverse group of membership, including healthcare finance leaders and professionals from hospitals and health systems, provider organizations, physician practices, business partners, and payer markets. The North Dakota chapter is active and offers monthly webinars as well as other educational opportunities.