Indeed, the marketing campaign seemed pretty innocuous to me, if a little cutting edge—at least for healthcare. The slogan Caromont leaders chose, "Cheat Death," debuted to less than stellar reviews among the public, and board members, apparently.
Even though, let's be honest here, that is what hospitals are in the business of doing. Not only that, the slogan was meant to emphasize the patient's role in maintaining health—which is one of the most unsolved big-picture problems affecting healthcare costs today—patient responsibility. The message to Caromont's future patients was to eat better and exercise more. What's wrong with that?
To be fair, board members who spoke about the dismissal say there were other issues as well.
Dismissing their CEO was their prerogative. But finding innovative CEOs to run small hospital systems boxed in by huge regional competitors is not easy. The board says it will conduct a national search for its next leader. Best of luck to them. That will be a tough job too.
But don't just listen to me. Listen to board members themselves. I talked to three of them at length, all at very different hospitals and health systems in three corners of the country.
One of the key themes of the story was the importance of being a "learning board." In today's environment of change, perhaps nothing is more important.