Got What It Takes to Run a Safety Net Hospital?

John Commins, August 20, 2012

Do you have what it takes to be the CEO of a major metropolitan safety net hospital?

Probably not but don't feel too bad. Most people – most CEOs – don't either.

After reading the 12 pages of "position specifications" for the potential CEO candidates at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, it may be that there are only a few dozen resumes in the United States that would contain the experiences, credentials, and personal charisma needed to turn around a venerable healthcare system that serves the Big D's poor and vulnerable citizens.

With remarkable understatement, the specs sheet created for Parkland by executive recruiters Korn/Ferry International notes that the safety net faces "several significant challenges."

Those "challenges" include keeping the doors open and the lights on. The federal government has very publicly suggested that it will no longer pay the 835-bed system for Medicare and Medicaid services if hundreds of quality and safety measures are not improved upon.

Korn/Ferry says that federal mandate and the threat of lost federal funding combined with the construction of a New Parkland Hospital, and the demands of the Affordable Care Act "make the next few years perhaps the most critical in Parkland's storied 117-year history."

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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