CEO Turnover Highest at Nevada Hospitals

Cheryl Clark, March 18, 2011

One-third of hospitals in the state of Nevada experienced turnover of their chief executive officers between 2009 and 2010, the highest percentage of leadership change in the nation, followed by hospitals in Alaska, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Alabama, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, where between 24% and 29% of the hospitals changed leaders.

That's according to the latest annual survey from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), which used reports submitted to the American Hospital Association for 4,567 hospitals for this survey.

The states with the least turnover include Delaware, whose hospitals had no new chief executives; Utah, which had 2%; Michigan which had 5% and Vermont, with 7%.

The national turnover rate for all hospitals in the U.S. was 16%, which was down from 18% between 2008 and 2009, the survey said. Prior to that, top hospital executive leadership fluctuated between 14% and 16% between 2001 and 2008.

"While the rate of CEO turnover has decreased somewhat, it is still too high," said Thomas C. Dolan, president and CEO of the ACHE. "Now, more than ever, hospitals need to ensure they have the appropriate succession plans in place to minimize any potential negative impact of unexpected turnover. It is critical that hospital boards and CEOs work together to this end."

Dolan said that according to ACHE surveys, only 20% of hospitals have a CEO succession plan in place, compared with 40% of other kinds of businesses. "What happens with those remaining 80% is that they're scrambling whenever a CEO announces they're leaving, retiring, going to another facility, or gets hit by a bus."

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