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As Threat From Reform Subsides, Other Concerns Are Surfacing

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, February 13, 2014
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This article appears in the January/February 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

As healthcare reform's gargantuan impact on the industry crystallizes, CEOs have become more polarized than in years past about the direction of the industry. In 2014, fewer CEOs see the current state of healthcare as being on the wrong track, at 40% vs. 44% in 2013, but fewer also see it on the right track, at 30% vs. 33% in 2013. More are undecided, at 30% vs. 24% in 2013.

This reflects a realization from CEOs that there will be winners and losers as healthcare undergoes massive change, and that top leaders are starting to figure out in which camp their organization is likely to end up, says Charles Hart, MD, MS, president and CEO of Regional Health, a nine-hospital system in Rapid City, S.D., who served as an advisor for the CEO Report, which is based on CEO-only responses from the 2014 HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey.

Still, these broad strokes of insight into CEO attitudes don't necessarily mean some have developed a fatalistic attitude toward their own organization's prospects. For instance, healthcare CEOs are much more comfortable with the impact of healthcare reform as 2014 begins than they were at this time last year, when nearly half (47%) considered health reform overall to be a threat to their organization. That number dropped to 38% in the 2014 survey, reflecting a better understanding of the law's effect on their organization, says Hart.