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May 31

Why You Must Understand How Sky-High Hospital CEO Turnover Impacts Your Practice

“I can’t put it in the agreement, but trust me on this. You have my word.”

Those are famous words from a hospital CEO. And, maybe you can trust him. But can you trust his successor?

Earlier this year, the American College of Healthcare Executives released the results of its annual hospital CEO turnover study.

Job security, or, better said, job insecurity, has held pretty steady over the last eight or so years: There’s almost a 20% chance that CEO Rob or Roberta won’t be on the hospital’s payroll a year from now.

In fact, depending on where in the U.S. you are, it could be a 67% chance.

So, what’s this mean for you as a physician group leader? Here are a few thoughts:

1. If you have any type of contract with a hospital, no matter how much you trust CEO Sally to be a woman of her word, you need contractual promises in the contract. “Yes, Sally, I trust you with my life. But, I don’t know your successor.”

2. Think on the bright side. If the CEO is a jerk he might not be there for long. On the other hand, if the CEO is a wonderful human being, he might not be there for long.

3. You must develop relationships with as deep a bench of hospital administrators, board members, and key medical staff members as possible. When the CEO leaves for her new position in the food services industry, you’ll need their backing when her replacement arrives.

4. New CEOs like to put their own stamp on things. That means doing an RFP for whatever your services are. Or, bringing in the XYZ group because they were at her old facility. You can’t control the outcome, only influence it. See point no. 3.

5. Buy “Good Luck!” and “Happy Retirement!” cards by the box when they’re on sale. CEOs always want you to cut costs and they’ll appreciate your foresight. Just don’t let them know ahead of time.

Comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss this post.

Mark F. Weiss

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