Understanding Sector Funds

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Non-Diversified Risk Funds

[Staff Writers]

Although less than 10% of the total number of mutual funds are considered true sector funds, year after year, 40% or more of the top-performing funds have been sector funds. For physician-investors sold on a buy-and-hold strategy, sector funds may not be their cup of tea. Yet, sector funds offer an opportunity to outperform the market indices, possibly even substantially.

Definition

According to the financial and economic Dictionaries of DE Marcinko, HR Hetico and elsewhere, a sector fund may be defined as:

An open-ended mutual fund that seeks to limit its investments to a specific industry or economic sector, for example; technology, real estate or health care. These funds may involve a greater degree of risk than an investment in other mutual funds with greater diversification.

Typically sector funds are more volatile than the majority of growth funds. This volatility springs from: (1) the fact that the majority of stocks in a particular sector fund move together, thereby magnifying the fund’s movement; (2) the focus of the sector fund manager only on stocks in that sector, enabling him or her to target high potential stocks; and (3) the rotation of “in” and “out” sectors at particular times.

What’s a Doctor to Do?

A physician-investor in sector funds needs a strategy that will target sectors on the upswing and signal when to move out of declining funds.

When selecting sector funds, some like Editor-in-Chief Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA CMP™ recommend building a list of funds that are manageable, full of choices in all types of markets, diversified (three to four funds for an aggressive portfolio or 10–12 for a less aggressive approach); and liquid. Newer ETF sectors may also be used.

Balancing Act

Also, develop a healthy balance—not a “hit-or-miss” approach. Marcinko and others suggest using the “relative or weighted strength” approach for sector selection by computing the percent change in the price of funds over a certain number of days and then ranking them for short-term, intermediate, and long-term periods.

With respect to determining the proper timing for buying or selling, some suggest the use of an individual fund timing system, such as comparing the current Net Asset Value [NAV] of the sector against a moving average for 60 or 90 days or combining both short- and long-term moving averages.

Signaling

In creating buy-and-sell signals:

  • Keep it simple and manageable.
  • Do not look for perfection.
  • Practice patience.
  • Cut losses and let profits run.
  • Stick with your relative strength.
  • Buy/sell signals consistently.

Assessment

Most of all, be prepared to invest the time necessary to learn sector funds, especially after the 679 point market collapse today; courage!

Conclusion

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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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Hospital Revenue Cycle Management

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Augmentation thru Technology Adoption

[By Karen White PhD, and Staff ]

Several major hospitals, or healthcare systems, have filed bankruptcy this fiscal quarter. These include a two-hospital system in Honolulu; one in Pontiac, MI; Trinity Hospital in Erin, Tennessee; Century City Doctors Hospital in Beverly Hills, and four hospital system Hospital Partners of America, in Charlotte. 

And so, since cash flow is the life blood of any healthcare revenue cycle management initiative, it is important for physician executives and healthcare administrators to appreciate the impact of modern health information technology systems on this vital function.

Functional Area Targets

Technology plays a key role across all health entity revenue cycle operations. By functional area, the following are key targets:

Patient Access

This is the front-end of a hospital’s revenue cycle. It is made up of all the pre-registration, registration, scheduling, pre-admitting, and admitting functions. Enhancing revenue cycles in this area requires the following:

  • a call center environment with auto dialing, faxing, and Internet connectivity to quickly ensure and verify all pertinent information that is key to correct and timely payment for services rendered;
  • Master Person Index software to eliminate duplicate medical record numbers and assist with achieving of a unique identifier for all patients;
  • registration and admission software that scripts the admission process to assist employees in obtaining required elements and check that insurer-required referrals are documented;
  • denial management definition, including focus on how to obtain all the correct patient information up front while the patient is in-house; and
  • imaging of data up front.

Health Information Management

This is the middle process of a hospital revenue cycle and is often still referred to as “Medical Records.” This area is made up of chart processing, coding, transcription, correspondence, and chart completion. Better control of revenue cycles requires the following recommended technology:

  • chart-tracking software to eliminate manual outguides and decrease the number of lost charts;
  • encoding and grouping software to improve coding accuracy and speed and improve reimbursement;
  • auto printing and faxing capabilities;
  • Internet connectivity for release of information and related document management tasks; and,
  • electronic management of documents.

Patient Financial Services

This is the back-end process of a hospital revenue cycle. The operations include all business office functions of billing, collecting, and follow-up post-patient care. Recommended technology to optimize these functions includes the following:

  • automated biller queues to improve and track the productivity of each biller;
  • claims scrubbing software to ensure that necessary data is included on the claim prior to submission; and
  • electronic claims and reimbursement processing to expedite the payment cycle.

Automation

Automation can lead to decreased paperwork, process standardization, increased productivity, and cleaner claims. In 2004, Hospital & Health Network’s “Most Wired Survey” found that the 100 most wired hospitals — including three out of the four AA+ hospitals in the country — had better control of expenses, higher productivity, and efficient utilization management. Today, these top hospitals tend to be larger and have better access to capital in these times of credit tightening.

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Assessment

The positive return on investment in technology increases allocation of funding to technology. This correlation is important because it begins to link the investment in information technology with positive financial returns in all areas of a hospital’s business, including the revenue cycle.

MORE: Rev Cycle Mgmnt

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

 

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