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Got What It Takes to Run a Safety Net Hospital?

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 20, 2012

Korn/Ferry's list of "specific responsibilities" and "professional experience/qualifications" for Parkland CEO candidates includes:

  • Gain an understanding of the system's organization, challenges, and opportunities among key constituencies which include the board; senior management; academics; physicians, local, state and federal politicians; community leaders and patients; donors and potential donors.
  • Develop a strategic plan that leads to a high performing, best-of-class healthcare system which successfully grows clinical volume and captures market share.
  • Attract and retain a "best-in-class" senior leadership team.
  • Develop system infrastructures, including financial and information systems.
  • Partner with academic constituencies to build upon educational and research programs.
  • Achieve financial results through planning, improved operating and financial performance, fundraising and external involvement with legislative and payer relationships.
  • Inspire people to engage, set, and execute performance goals.
  • Experience working with a medical school to develop clinical, academic and research programs is preferred.
  • Experience with multiple aspects of the spectrum of clinical care delivery, from prevention to outpatient and inpatient acute care to rehabilitation and home care ideally including experience with an integrated healthcare delivery system.
  • Able to create and communicate a compelling picture of how the organization and healthcare overall will evolve, tying current initiatives to longer term strategies and the organization's value.
  • Experience building cultures of accountability that reward initiative while sharing credit for successes and responsibility for failures.
  • Can solve the most complex of problems; great at gleaning meaning from whatever data is available; is a quick study of the new and different; adds personal wisdom and experience to come to the best conclusion and solution, given the situation; uses multiple problem-solving tools.
  • Can separate the mission-critical from the trivial; focuses on the few tasks that add value and puts aside or delays the rest.
  • Is a person of high character; is consistent and acts in line with a clear set of values and beliefs; deals and talks straight; walks his/her talk.
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1 comments on "Got What It Takes to Run a Safety Net Hospital?"


Bill Bliss (8/24/2012 at 4:42 PM)
While this article brings up some very good points, including the difficulty of filling this role, given the requirements and "12 pages of position specifications", what is clear is that for the newly hired CEO to succeed, s/he must be focused on the absolute top priorities that have the best opportunity to turn things around. All too often when a newly hired executive takes on the new role, they will fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people in an effort to "start strong". For success, this CEO must have a clearly focused plan for the first 30, 90,and 180 days that the Board (especially the Board Chair) fully support. In my many years of providing on-boarding or assimilation coaching to newly hired executives, including CEOs, it is critical for the 30, 90 and 180 day plan to be clear, credible, and have the needed impact the organization demands at this point in its history. At the CEO level, it is also hard to get the feedback early on that is so critically needed, unless of course there is a process for that - this is where the on-boarding coach can play a significant role. I only hope that the Board of this hospital will see the value in providing this service, and, with apologies to the search firm, an on-boarding program that is well beyond what is typically provided by the search firm. The investment the hospital is going to make in the CEO is substantial - it stands to reason they want to do all that is possible to ensure successful performance.