Healthcare CEO turnover drops from all-time high

Turnover among healthcare CEOs fell in 2014 but remains high, according to research from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

Last year turnover fell to 18 percent, according to the research. While this figure is a decline from 2013's record high of 20 percent, it is still one of the highest rates in 15 years, and represents an increase from both 2012's 17 percent, and 2010 and 2011's 16 percent.

The rate has hovered between 14 and 18 percent over the last 10 years, indicating the elevated number may be the new status quo, ACHE President and CEO Deborah J. Bowen said in the statement announcing the findings.

"The continuing trend of consolidation among organizations, the increasing demands on chief executives to lead in a complex and rapidly changing environment, and retirement of leaders from the baby boomer era may all be contributing to this continuing higher level of change in the senior leadership of hospitals," she said. "The findings also serve as a reminder for healthcare organizations to continue to ensure they have appropriate strategies in place--including robust succession planning--to successfully manage senior leadership changes."

At the state level, the adjusted turnover rate was highest in Rhode Island, at 44 percent, with Mississipi and Washington, both at 27 percent, tied for second place. Delaware's zero percent turnover rate was the lowest, followed by Connecticut with 7 percent and Vermont with 8 percent, according to ACHE.

The sheer number of mergers and acquisitions within the healthcare sector is one of the biggest contributing factors to the high turnover. The 2013 rate marked a "tipping point," Mary Grayson wrote in a 2014 Hospitals & Health Networks post, and CEO turnover increasingly means bringing in leaders with a background in fields other than healthcare, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read ACHE's announcement