Module 5: Basics of Health Care Finance

May 2021
National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center)

This six-part educational video series provides mid-level leaders with foundational knowledge and strategies for leading their team and influencing others as they navigate the shift to value-based payment and population health.

Before You Begin: Complete the Pre/post-Training Evaluation template on page 8 within the Discussion Questions and Activities document before you begin the series and again after you complete Module 6.

Description and Topics Covered

Understand the basics of healthcare finance for mid-level leaders and how it connects to your work.

  • Gain a basic understanding of traditional and value-based payment methodologies
  • Explore the role of wellness, transitional care, and chronic care services in value-based systems

Discussion Questions

  • How does your department contribute to the bottom line of your organization? 
  • Might the transition to value change the way your department generates revenue (or savings)? If so, in what way?
  • What is the financial outlook for your organization over the next 1-2 years? What about the next 3-5 years?

Recommended Activities

  • Talk to your CFO or Controller to learn more about your organization’s finance-related strengths and vulnerabilities.
  • Watch one or more recorded sessions of the 5-part Value-Based Care webinar series on The Center’s website. Topics in this series:
    • Value-Based Care Options for Rural
    • Financial Risk in Value-Based Care Models
    • Optimizing Ambulatory Healthcare for the 21st Century
    • Population Health Transition Framework: Gaining Physician Buy-In
    • Best Practices to Work with Community Partners on Population Health Initiatives


  1. 15 Key Levers Driving Value-Based Care Success - This report outlines 15 priority areas for healthcare organizations to focus on in order to successfully transition to value-based care.
  2. Paying Hospitals to Keep People out of Hospitals? It Works in Maryland - This article provides an overview of Maryland’s ambitious hospital payment overhaul, launched in 2014.
  3. Global Budgeting - Rural health care delivery is being shaped by changes in payment policies and financing sources, continually evolving quality measures and expectations, and evolving models of care delivery. Success in this transformation requires high-performance rural health organizations. Speaker Dr. MacKinney, MD, MS, University of Iowa, shares his expertise on Global Budgeting. This innovative approach involves an annual expectation for revenue for all inpatient and hospital outpatient care in advance.
  4. Value-Based Care (VBC) Options for Rural webinar series - This webinar series will provide hospital and clinic teams with education regarding the transition to VBC.

This project is/was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UB1RH24206, Information Services to Rural Hospital Flexibility Program Grantees, $1,560,000 (0% financed with nongovernmental sources). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.