Recently the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published their long-awaited plans for housing finance reform. While the plans are most recognized for their proposed changes to government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), they also introduce suggestions for amending Federal Housing Administration (FHA) programs and guidelines, including specific guidance on default servicing.
Hospital-Acquired Conditions (HACs) and infections are illnesses or complications that were not present when the patient was admitted to the hospital, but developed as a result of errors or accidents in the hospital.(1) In an effort to improve patient safety and quality within hospitals, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed the HAC Reduction Program in 2015. Since the program was introduced, studies show that hospitals have made considerable progress in reducing HACs.(2) However, there is plenty of room for improvements with some common and troublesome HACs.
There is a lot of focus on patient satisfaction and experience in healthcare, and for good reason. Patient Experience is a key contributor to overall hospital quality measures and insurance reimbursements. In addition, patient satisfaction and experience have been linked time and again to improved patient outcomes. Although we sometimes view satisfaction and experience as the same thing, they are different. Both satisfaction and experience are equally important and require ongoing communication passed between caregivers, as well as from caregivers to patient. A famous physician from Canada, Sir William Osler, once said: “A good physician treats the disease and a great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”(1) The same applies to patient satisfaction and experience. Focusing on creating a satisfied patient who has a positive experience is the key for driving hospital quality and patient loyalty.
Nearly half of mortgage servicers indicated that they felt the western region of the US was most likely to see an increase in distressed inventory for the latter half of the year. This was one of the key findings from Auction.com’s 2019 Disposition Summit Client Survey Report.
A large number of leaders in healthcare agree that staff engagement within a hospital is an essential component for delivering quality patient care, with an empathetic experience, that will result in the best clinical outcomes. Since most of the insurance reimbursements are tied to quality measures, staff engagement has become progressively more essential to healthcare organizations’ bottom line. Amid the competitive landscape and caregiver shortages, organizations are faced with the challenge of vying for the most qualified candidates.
The 2019 hurricane season is already off to a troubling start with Hurricane Dorian having caused an estimated $1.5 billion to $3 billion in insurance losses across the Caribbean. Even tropical storm Barry is estimated to have caused as much as $600 million in damage in the Southeast, including Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi. Last month, the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) updated its predictions for the current hurricane season, increasing expectations for an “above-normal” season.
Healthcare organizations have recognized that to keep pace with industry growth, regulatory requirements, and increased responsibilities, caregivers require the aid of innovation. In the past, physicians and nurses had paper charts and labor-intensive processes. Manual processes took away precious time needed for patient care. Fortunately, caregivers today have the opportunity to tap into the entire patient history while in the room with the patient. This is a huge improvement from even five years ago. Many industry thought leaders have been paving the way, replacing paper processes and antiquated technologies with robust, mobile solutions that enable caregivers to improve patient care on-the-spot. Whether it be behind the scenes helping the operations, or front and center in the patient room, technology is changing the game.
New Jersey recently joined a handful of states seeking to increase regulation and oversight of nonbank mortgage servicers. The Mortgage Servicers Licensing Act went into effect just over a month ago and created new requirements for nonbank servicers doing business in the state.
As digital transformation evolves, agencies continue to migrate to the cloud to modernize operations, keep up with technological advances, and gain efficiencies. Choosing the wrong vendor solution results in hidden costs and time delays. Selecting the vendor that provides the most short-term gain balanced with long-term efficiencies is no small task.
At the core of its mission, Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) strive to achieve the highest level of quality care for patients, thereby reducing waste and cutting related costs for hospitals. Regardless of the approach, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states an essential component for ensuring the best results is to embrace strategies that will support quality across the entire patient journey of care. More specifically, improving communication and collaboration between points of treatment can remove roadblocks that prevent top-quality care. The three biggest areas of concern for breakdowns in care happen to patients with chronic conditions, patients admitted to the Emergency Department, and patients transitioned to Long Term Care. We have some insights on the strategies used by thriving ACOs that help resolve care coordination issues.
In addition to federal regulations enforced by government agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), mortgage servicers are subject to state regulations within the states they conduct business. And in the case of New York, those regulations can be as demanding, if not more so, than federal requirements. Even servicers that don’t operate in New York must keep a close eye on proposed changes to state requirements that have the potential to impact or increase today’s burden of compliance.
Although foreclosure rates are frequently touted to be at historic lows, servicers must still prepare for quarterly upticks and unexpected market changes that can quickly drive up foreclosures episodically. Increases in delinquency and foreclosure rates are in various quarterly reports, in numerous geographic pockets, and more frequently in areas where natural disasters occur. Despite improved economic factors, the industry still needs to consider interest rate volatility, stagnating housing starts, latent home appreciation, and rising consumer debt. Let’s not leave out talk of a forthcoming recession. Last but not least, our industry has changed since we last saw serious delinquency risk, making awareness and readiness more important than ever.
The past decade has been a challenging one for mortgage servicers, with countless time and resources spent on high volumes of delinquencies, rigorous loss mitigation standards, and growing investor requirements. Looking ahead to the next ten years, stakeholders are asking if the old servicing model still makes sense for a transformed industry.
As part of their continuous efforts for healthcare facilities to achieve zero harm, the Joint Commission conducts an on-site accreditation survey at least every 39 months. The survey’s purpose is to evaluate and measure organizational compliance with standards of patient safety and quality of care. Because deficiencies found by surveyors are placed on a performance improvement plan, the best strategy is to be proactive and reduce the number of infractions occurring by being well prepared. A common approach endorsed by the Joint Commission is for organizations to conduct ongoing mock surveys.
In May, we shared with you a sneak peek of what to expect at this year’s Ginnie Mae Summit. With promises of an “in-depth, top-to-bottom perspective on Ginnie Mae’s business,” it certainly did not disappoint. If you missed this exciting industry event, we’ve got you covered. From government lending policy changes to Ginnie 2020, here’s what you need to know.
We all know, providing a safe environment for patients to recover is a fundamental part of offering quality patient care that fosters the best possible outcomes. With healthcare demands as they are, it can be challenging for organizations to balance complying with regulatory requirements while creating the safest place for patients to heal. Lean staffing ratios combined with regulatory, operational and administrative burdens can lead to increased safety issues.
It appears that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will finally get the technology modernization it deserves. This year Congress approved $20 million in funding for FHA’s technology infrastructure, coinciding with several initiatives to retool systems that are decades old. This funding acknowledgment will support significantly enhanced technological capabilities that will benefit the industry as a whole, as well as individual lenders and servicers.
With policy and payment reform tied to quality care and clinical outcomes, hospitals need first-rate physicians that will help to drive changes and process improvements. Once these physicians are on board, the onus is on the hospitals to do their best to engage and retain them. One sure-fire way to do that is by providing physicians with all the tools they need to perform to the best of their ability, in the least amount of time.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently published its 18th Edition of Supervisory Highlights, reviewing supervisory actions taken in the latter half of 2018. The Supervisory Highlights outline four sectors that received significant supervisory attention. Mortgage servicing once again made the list, alongside automobile loan servicing, deposits, and remittances. The findings related to mortgage servicing violations reiterate the need for up-to-date policies and procedures, as well as mechanisms to ensure adherence.
It has been a difficult year for many rural American families, particularly those that farm. From unprecedented flooding, tornadoes, and tariffs, the “perfect storm” of challenges could have a historical impact on areas of need. During this time, many farmers and homeowners are likely to turn to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Rural Housing Service (RHS) for support. Mortgage servicers have a big part to play in preparing and managing an influx of homeowners seeking disaster relief and loss mitigation options.
Despite ongoing government initiatives for policy and regulation, the healthcare industry continues to grow exponentially. Hospitals must be nimble, flexible, and run a tight ship to remain financially solvent. Growth and staffing shortages, combined with what has become a consumer-driven industry, means that healthcare executives are competing for staff, resources, and patients at the same time they are striving to provide quality patient care and work within a smaller budget. In this environment, healthcare organizations must look at their most significant concerns and areas with the most opportunity for improvement in the shortest amount of time.
New research suggests a growing number of service members are opting for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage programs over other alternatives. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Quarterly Consumer Credit Trends report for the first quarter of 2019 dug into first-time service member home buying trends. The results should remind mortgage servicers of the need to stay on top of VA-specific policy requirements, especially the VA’s expanding disaster relief loss mitigation requirements.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently published an assessment of the significant mortgage servicing regulatory overhaul that went into effect in January 2014. To assist borrowers in avoiding foreclosure, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) required the consumer watchdog to expand the scope of regulatory and supervisory oversight of mortgage servicing under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). The legislation also required the CFPB to conduct an assessment of major rulemakings within five years of the effective date – bringing us to 2019.
As part of its ongoing innovation initiative, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has announced its own Innovation Pilot Program. The pilot will complement several ongoing programs and efforts, including the creation of the new Office of Innovation, “innovation hours” programs at various offices, and the availability of bank charters to fintech companies. Moving another step forward, the innovation pilot will establish a “sandbox” environment where financial institutions can test innovative products and services in a controlled environment.
A lot of industry attention is currently focused on the finish line for the digitizing of the mortgage business, with mortgage lenders, servicers, and vendors in countdown mode. In this environment, it’s important not to lose sight of the risks that lay along the route. Additionally, digitizing the mortgage lifecycle only represents a portion of the evolving automated mortgage process, which encompasses expanding data and privacy requirements, the increase of mobile applications, and much more.
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