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Reassessing Executive Compensation

Michael Zeis, for HealthLeaders Media, November 13, 2013

Care continuum skills needed but missing

Advisors acknowledge that addressing new challenges will require new skills. Says Bell, "Our board spends a lot of time talking about the behavioral competencies that will lead to success. And when I say behavioral competencies, I'm talking about things like the ability to successfully forge new kinds of business models, or to demonstrate bold and innovative thinking."

As was the case in last year's survey, physician alignment is the skill mentioned most frequently as being important in ensuring CEO success, mentioned by 61%. Nearly half (49%) include the ability to optimize results along the continuum of care as a skill needed for a CEO to succeed in five years, an increase of 10 percentage points over last year's survey. Both skills are mentioned most frequently as skills that their CEO is lacking.

Among non-CEOs, cost containment (64%) and performance metrics (58%) topped the list of skills that are required for C-suite success. But nearly half mentioned the ability to optimize performance along the continuum of care (48%) and physician alignment (45%). And care continuum skills and physician alignment skills top the list of non-CEO skills that are missing. Says CMC's Pepe about care continuum skills: "This is an important team skill that traditionally has not been present in the C-suite. CEOs are going to rely heavily on non-CEO C-suite executives obtaining this skill in order to move down the road of bundled services and value-based care."

Bringing skills to C-suite

When assessing how best a CEO can add the missing skills that are needed, more than one-third (36%) say that their CEO could rely on the skills available with non-CEO staff, while 30% say that training could fill in the CEO skills gap. Training is the skill-acquisition method mentioned most frequently (by 51%) as the most likely scenario for adding those skills among non-CEOs.

It's generally acknowledged that exposure to the clinical environment helps executives with both physician alignment and collaborative care activities. Filling the skills gap by bringing in new C-suite talent from outside the organization is considered by about 13% or 14% of respondents.

Recruiting physicians with leadership skills or leaders with clinical skills can be problematic for some because of supply and demand issues. As Bell points out, "We're not the only one looking for physician executives. In this market we're doing it more aggressively than others, but I talk to my national peers who are doing the same thing. The hunt is on. Right now, demand definitely is outstripping supply."

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