Hospital CEO burnout on the horizon: Look for successors now

The industry will see more hospital CEO burnout in 2012, according to Steven Valentine, president of the consulting firm Camden Group, Hospitals & Health Networks Daily reported this week. With health reform pressures of new delivery models, payment changes and workforce issues, many CEOs are simply worn out.

"There has never been a time with such an unsettled future; it is difficult to know where we will be in another year," Valentine writes in an upcoming Trustee article.

According to the September/October issue of Healthcare Executive, there was a 17 percent CEO turnover rate in 2009, compared to 14.6 percent in 2001.

"The culture cannot be sustained with constant leadership turnover," Anthony Cirillo, president of Fast Forward Consulting, wrote in a recent Hospital Impact blog post.

"I ... venture to guess that healthcare organizations fail to aptly groom someone to be CEO," he continued. "Thrust into that position, you only have a short time to prove yourself; it's sink or swim."

With CEO burnout on the horizon for hospitals, organizations might want to consider their successors.

Although hospitals often put leadership development on the back burner, succession planning needs to be a priority, Sanjay B. Saxena, vice president and partner of San Francisco-based global consulting firm Booz & Company, previously told FierceHealthcare.

"There's a significant level of drop-off in talent and experience that exists below the senior team that's been in place. A lot of that is because healthcare executives have not consistently or uniformly taken the time to think proactively about who are the future leaders within their organizations."

Saxena recommended that current C-suite members and boards start looking early for possible successors. Although external candidates should not be ignored, internal employees who work up through the ranks and have diverse skills may make the most ideal successors.

For more information:
- read the H&HN article
- check out the FierceHealthcare interview on succession planning

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Have you heard (or lived) this burnout story?