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CEO Turnover Highest at Nevada Hospitals

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 18, 2011

About 58% of hospital CEOs have been with their organizations less than five years. "You should start new succession planning the day the new CEO comes on board," he says.

Dolan said that for smaller states like Nevada, which has only 32 hospitals, turnover statistics may be less meaningful than statistics for larger states, although Nevada in 2009 also had a high turnover compared with 2008, 20%, one of the highest relative to other states in that year too.

In this report, other states considered to have high hospital CEO turnover between 2009 and 2010 include Virginia, New Mexico, West Virginia, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, Rhode Island, Texas, Arkansas and Hawaii.

These rates are more meaningful for states with big populations. For example, Florida, which has 180 hospitals, had a 21% CEO turnover and Texas, which has 368 hospitals, had a 20% turnover. Pennsylvania, which has 157 hospitals had an 18% turnover, while Illinois, which has 179, had 13% and New York and California, which each have at least 400 hospitals, had an 11% or 12% change in leadership.

Dolan added that the CEO turnover rate is potentially bad because it disrupts continuity within an organization. "When there's disruption, plans are put on hold, other leaders leave, and the medical staff gets restless," Dolan says. When they come in, new executives launch improvements that take five years "to become part of the fabric of the organization."

"Let's say you go into an organization that's been losing money," Dolan says. "If you're not there to safeguard the changes, often times the hospital will revert back to where they were before."

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