As CEO Turnover Rate Drops, So Does Job Satisfaction

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , March 18, 2011
What's happening?

A number of factors are conspiring against CEO job satisfaction. Certainly, running a hospital is becoming more complex and demanding, and many pundits say that nonprofit CEOs--about 80% of hospitals are classified as nonprofit—are overpaid. That would be news to many of these people who could earn substantially more in a for-profit setting, but certainly, the job is getting more complicated, not less.

Simple math tells us that the majority of hospital CEOs are heading standalone community hospitals. They face a particularly difficult slog in the coming years as reimbursements are ratcheted back, and as many of the requirements of accountable care seem to favor large institutions with the infrastructure, expertise and, let's face it, investable capital to make a margin on what many see as a declining overall revenue base for hospitals in the foreseeable future.

Many of those hospitals might be squarely in the crosshairs of an acquisition or merger with a larger, multi-hospital system. If job security is a big part of job satisfaction, that's certainly a reason for the pessimism.

My point is that leadership is needed, and it's a frustrating time to be a leader of an organization that is in the midst of perhaps the biggest transformation in history—the movement from volume-based growth to growth based on quality and value. It's a necessary transformation, but it's got to be difficult to digest, especially for proud executives of proud institutions that might be on the eve of disappearance as independent entities.

A turnover rate of 16% might indeed be too high, as the ACHE president opines. But if the numbers from our survey are to be believed, we might see a 16% turnover rate as a pretty low number in years to come.

Philip Betbeze is senior leadership editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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