CAFO Course Topics

Module 1: The Ambulance Financial Officer

1A - CAFO Roles & Responsibilities 

In this lesson we discuss the roles and responsibilities of the successful CAFO and the unique challenges facing the ambulance financial officer.  We also discuss the financial framework and how to create an effective finance function at your organization.

1B - Fiscal Leadership, Integrity & Credibility

The CAFO has a unique obligation to be accountable, ethical, credible and act with integrity. We’ll review those responsibilities as well as how the CAFO can promote and maintain transparency and manage any conflicts of interest.

1C - Fiscal Compliance

Whether your agency is public, private, or nonprofit, the CAFO has a responsibility to maintain compliance with various laws, rules and regulations. In this lesson we review what those are and how best to avoid any compliance gaps.

Module 2: Foundations of Financial Accounting and Reporting

2A - Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP)

In this lesson we cover the essentials of the GAAP framework and the basic principles which guide the CAFO through accounting and reporting requirements. We will cover the assumptions and concepts that the CAFO needs to apply in its day to day considerations.

2B - Financial Oversight Boards

Financial accounting and reporting in your agencies are directed by either FASB or GASB. We’ll discuss the differences between the two oversight boards, why they exist, and to which organizations they apply.

2C - Basis of Accounting

The CAFO must understand and decide between various accounting methods to apply to their organizations. In this lesson we will review the Cash, Accrual, and Modified Accrual bases of accounting and walk-through specific examples of how they are applied.

2D - Overview of Financial Reporting

In this lesson we will cover the basics of the Statement of Activities (Income Statement), Statement of Position (Balance Sheet) and Statement of Cash flows. We will review the distinctions between internal and external reporting, ensuring that the CAFO can communicate financial information in the most meaningful way to various end users.

Module 3: Budgeting and Analysis

3A - Overview of Budgeting and Planning techniques

Budgeting is the cornerstone of financial planning and reporting. Having the ability to plan and create strategic budgets is essential. In this module we’ll review various budget policies and the strategic planning process.

3B - The Budget Process

The CAFO has several approaches of budgeting to choose from, must engage the appropriate stakeholders, and manage the budget process like a project. We’ll review various budget methods and how to collaborate and engage with the right partners, all while meeting the necessary budget milestones.

3C - Budget Components for EMS Agencies 

From revenues and incomes, to operational and capital expenditures, this lesson covers the essential components of EMS budgets.

3D - Budget Monitoring - reporting and analysis; using KPIs and benchmarks

A budget is pointless unless it is used appropriately throughout the reporting period. This lesson will review comparative reporting and analysis, and how to use Key Performance Indicators to gauge performance.

Module 4: Income and The Revenue Cycle

4A - Revenue Cycle Overview, Pricing Strategies, and Payor Mix

Understanding the complete revenue cycle of your agency is one of the quintessential skills needed for a CAFO to be successful. This lesson covers the cycle from the originating 911 call to the point that payment is made. We will review effective and compliant pricing strategies, as well as understanding how payor mix influences the revenue cycle.

4B - Payment Plans, Contracts and Payor Arrangements

This lesson reviews various types of payment plans and arrangements, and how to negotiate them in order to maximize your agency’s reimbursement rate.

4C - Innovative Models and Advocacy

With fiscal sustainability of EMS continuously at risk, the CAFO has to think outside-the-box from typical payment models. In this lesson we will discuss other (legal!) payment models as well as how to get involved in advocacy at the state and federal levels to advance EMS as a sustainable essential service. 

4D - Billing: To Outsource or Not

The question of whether or not to outsource your billing function should be considered carefully, and the answer varies from agency to agency. We’ll review the what you should be considering

Module 5: Financial Policies & Internal Controls

5A - Financial Policies

In EMS, it’s the operational and clinical policies that often rule the roost. In this lesson we’ll discuss the importance of effective financial policies and how they help provide efficient management, risk mitigation, and the alignment of financial operations with the mission of your agency.

5B - Risk Assessment

Risk isn’t just for actuaries! A financial risk assessment can help the CAFO identify vulnerabilities, determine attitude towards risk, reinforce strengths, and course correct when and if the need arises. This lesson focuses on the importance of risk assessments, areas to consider, and key operational components to focus on.

5C - Internal Controls

Effective internal controls put financial policies and risk mitigation to work in a way that improves process performance and operational efficiency. We will review why they’re so important, even for the smallest department, and key controls to consider.