Joe Pajor, Retired, serving as part time consultant with my wife Kathy’s consulting firm
CT Scanner (CS) Joe Pajor (JP)
(CS) Please provide a brief summary of your work history (companies worked for titles):
(JP) 42 years in hospital finance, Meriden- Wallingford Hospital [now mid-state]72-78, Internal Auditor, Assistant Controller MT Sinai Hospital[ acquired by St. Francis]78-80 [Director of Finance Division], Hospital of St. Raphael, 1980-2000, director in various revenue cycle activities Stamford Hospital 2000-2007, Administrative Director Patient Financial Services, Norwalk Hospital 2007-2014 Administrative Director Revenue Cycle.
(CS) When did you join HFMA? What committees have you joined and positions have you held within HFMA?
(JP) President, for chapter as well as serving on numerous committees such as Program, Annual Meeting, Certification, Sponsorship, Region 1 Executive, HFMA National Advisory Board for Revenue Cycle, National Chapter 2.0 Committee on Regional Executives.
(CS) What made you join HFMA?
(JP) I was told to by my CFO at Meriden Wallingford Hospital immediately upon my hire, but soon looked forward to every monthly meeting at Yankee Silversmith in Wallingford, where every hospital CFO and key financial staff met to discuss state and national health care financial issues.
(CS)What have you found to be the benefits of joining HMFA?
(JP) So many, staying connected to national and state issues. Never would have known other health care financial professionals if not for HFMA. Networking from the after the meeting reception in the 70’s at the Yankee Silversmith, to the current networking opportunities at chapter events and Region 1 Conference.
(CS)What is your favorite event that the HFMA has held?
(JP) Locally, the CT HFMA annual meeting has become a must attend, since it highlights what is happening in CT Health Care: and the closing panel provides insight into CT Leadership thinking. This past year’s Region 1 provided a regional look at health care issues and its closing panel was great – not only for the speaker’s comments, but their interaction with each other as three CEO’s had an opportunity to join in a meaningful dialogue.
(CS)What piece of advice would you give to a new member of the HFMA?
(JP) Get out of your comfort zone as soon as possible and get involved. Almost everyone is reluctant to get involved, but if you start to volunteer and ask to be on a committee, good things will start to happen. And once you are on a committee, be proactive and ask for responsibilities. Soon you will be meeting many great members throughout the state and having a good time doing it.
My tag line for HFMA is, “Learn, Laugh, and Commiserate”; which I think captures what HFMA meant to me.
(CS) Can you tell us a little about yourself? Like your family life or hobbies and interests?
(JP) I have been married to Kathy for 20 years and she too has been the president of the Connecticut chapter and Region 1 Executive. We have four children and 6 grandchildren, with one more on the way. My interests are: the Boston Red Sox, travel and the theater – having been a Long Wharf Theater season ticket holder for over 30 years, and now enjoy going down to New York for Broadway shows. I have jogged in 5 marathons (60 pounds ago); NYC -3 DC, and LA., jogged a mile in all 50 states, attended a game in every major league ball park, been to 43 countries, mostly in Europe, the Caribbean, and the Far East. I appeared on Broadway in Monty Pythons Holy Grail, as I was selected to appear from the audience with the cast during the show, and they presented with me an award. One great recent travel experience was spending a week in Cuba doing volunteer work on a farm and living with native Cubans.
(CS) Are you a member of any other organizations career oriented or personal?
(JP) I previously served as Chairman of the Board of CT Better Business Bureau, and Columbus House (CH), a homeless shelter and transitional housing not for profit in New Haven. I still volunteer with CH, and in a strange twist, my current CH involvement ledt me to be on the startup of the Better Business Board Foundation. I am serving now as Board member and Secretary which will soon be providing consumer feedback on Connecticut not for profit charities.
(CS)What are your goals for your future career wise, personally and within HFMA?
(JP) My goals are to take a carpe diem approach to the max in my retirement years. On May 26th I completed my role as Chair of the Region 1 HFMA Conference held at the Mohegan Sun that drew over 430 attendees. From now on, my HFMA involvement will be limited to providing my two cents when asked by either the chapter or Region 1. With my 45+ year membership, I have lots of penny experiences from which to provide my 2 cents.
(CS)Please feel free to add any other information that you feel would be useful or fun for the other members to know.
My only regret with HFMA was that I waited until my late 50’s to get involved on the chapter leadership level. Since I wanted to give back for all HFMA did for me in my career, I realize now I should have been more involved in the leadership ranks much earlier in my career for the all the value and enjoyment it gave to me.
Thank you Joe, for all your hard work and service to the organization.
by Kathy Rizzetta
Senior Staff Reporter
The incoming Connecticut chapter leadership, along with a batch of new volunteers congregated in Hartford on May 3rd for our ‘mini’ leadership training conference. Held annually as a follow-up to HFMA’s national leadership conference which takes place each spring, ‘mini-LTC’ is an opportunity to introduce prospective future leaders to our chapter. Attendees join with newly-elected CTHFMA officials to plan for the upcoming year.
Incoming President Sarah Ginnetti of Hartford HealthCare ushered in the new chapter year by laying out a set of goals and expectations for her 2017-2018 term. Committee chairs and the new faces in attendance spent much of the afternoon brainstorming ways to improve the value of membership. Most discussed was member engagement. One goal among others for this year is to connect more members with volunteer opportunities within the chapter, which has served many in our leadership group so well over past years.
The board and officers are actively looking for anyone interested in gaining a bigger role within CTHFMA. We encourage any interested to contact our VP of Membership, Gary Goetz, or any other officers/directors, all of whose contact info can be found at our new website www.cthfma.org
Senior Staff Reporter
By William M. Jennings
President and CEO, Bridgeport Hospital, and
Executive Vice President, Yale New Haven Health
Fiscal instability at the state and federal level continues to heap added pressure on Connecticut’s not-for-profit hospitals. During the past year, the situation has gotten worse, not better.
Congressional discussions around the threatened repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and even the tamer sounding “repair/replace” strategy, are keeping many hospital executives awake at night.
There is great uncertainty about what would replace the ACA, which extended health insurance coverage to millions of people, including some 200,000 in Connecticut, through an expanded Medicaid program and creation of state health insurance exchanges.
Many believe that block grants will take the place of direct payments to hospitals. The block grants would be given to the states, which would then distribute them to hospitals. As with other block grant programs, there is a danger the grant funds would be diverted to other state programs, based on the direction of governors and state legislatures.
Medicaid rate-leveling for inpatient stays and Medicare provider-based site rule changes for 2017 are a double dose of bad news for us. Add on the Governor’s latest proposal to allow municipalities to collect property taxes from hospitals, and it becomes a triple whammy.
Connecticut hospitals already pay $550 million in taxes to the state. Of that enormous amount, Yale New Haven Health pays nearly 40 percent– amounting to $200 million. An additional property tax burden would challenge many hospitals to sustain their current level of patient care services and staffing.
Remember, hospitals also provide millions of dollars in charitable care and community benefits. Bridgeport Hospital provided nearly $27 million in charitable care last year and absorbed a $33 million shortfall in reimbursements for the care of Medicaid patients.
Bridgeport Hospital and Yale New Haven Health began preparing early – and responsibly – for the implementation of the ACA. We looked at ways to reduce costs and enhance revenues, all while evidence-based clinical redesign initiatives enabled us to deliver high quality, patient-centered care more safely and efficiently. We have reinvested whatever operating margins we have earned into growing and adapting our services to meet the needs of our patients and communities. We continue to be a major employer in our community, providing crucial jobs and training programs. We help the city and state economy through the goods and services we purchase.
And how were we rewarded? We have endured steadily rising state taxes on our revenues and ongoing cuts in Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements. And now the threat of property taxes, too? The Governor appears to think that hospitals are the treasury through which he can fund a variety of other state programs and services, unrelated to healthcare.
Enough is enough. We need to stop taxing hospitals and stop the cuts to reimbursement programs that allow us to care for our sickest and neediest patients and find a responsible way to balance the budget.