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Enhanced ABC costing for hospitals: directed expense costing

Enhanced ABC costing for hospitals: directed expense costing

Hospital Cost Management and Accounting 9(7): 5-8

Space limitations do not allow a complete discussion of all the topics and many of the obvious questions that the preceding brief introduction to directed expense costing probably raised in the reader's mind. These include how errors in accounting practices like posting expenses to the wrong period are handled; and how the system automatically adjusts costs for expenses benefiting several periods but posted to the acquisition month. As was mentioned above, underlying this overtly simple costing method are a number of sophisticated and sometimes complex processes that are hidden from the normal user and designed to automatically protect the integrity and accuracy of the costing process. From a user's viewpoint, the system is straightforward, understandable, and easy to use and audit. From a software development perspective, it is not quite that effortless. By using a system that is understood by all users at all levels, these users can now communicate with each other in a new and effective way. This new communication channel only occurs after each user is satisfied as to the overall costing quality achieved by the process. However, not all managers or physicians are always happy that the institution is using this "understandable" cost accounting system. During one of the weekly meetings of a hospital's administrative council, complaints from several powerful department heads concerning the impact that the use of cost data was having on them were brought up for discussion. In defending the continued use of the system, one vice president stated to the group that cost accounting does not get any easier than this, or any less expensive, or any more accurate. The directed expense process works and works very well. Our department heads and physicians will have to come to grips with the accountably it provides us to assess their value to the hospital.

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Accession: 045965657

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PMID: 10173184

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