Top Concerns for Hospital CEOs

Critical Issues Facing Hospital CEOs

Archie Drake
Executive VP Leadership Excellence

The recent article in Becker’s Hospital Review by Megan Knowles, ACHE: 10 most concerning issues for hospital CEOs, presents a complete list of things that keep Administrators up at night.  The top three concerns, which are of no surprise, are financial challenges, compliance with governmental mandates and personnel shortages.

This list of concerns resonates with me, as these were my experiences as a Vice President of Operations at a medium-sized, not-for-profit community hospital and a CEO/COO at a for-profit specialty hospital.  Currently, I see these identical concerns rise to the top of many organizations through Healthlinx’s engagements with hospitals all over the country as we work with them to achieve Service Line Excellence.  Through our projects, we execute a key strategy that addresses these concerns: Leadership Team Performance/Outcomes.

Meeting the challenge of these top concerns requires hospital CEOs to have a talented executive team, the composition of which is important. A recent article by Zenger and Folkman in the Harvard Business Review (2016) shows the impact of leadership throughout an organization.  They demonstrated that if the high-level leader is doing a “subpar job,” this is exhibited not only in the outcomes of their direct reports (mid-level leaders), but also in the outcomes of the people who work for those leaders.  While the leadership team did not make the Top Ten List of concerning issues, we see in our daily interactions with hospital executives a correlation between the composition of the leadership team, especially at the Director level, and the objective measures of success related to the concerns cited in the ACHE survey.

This article validates that hospital CEOs have shared concerns; these concerns are not likely to go away, but there is more to it than just being concerned.  The common denominator is Leadership.  High-performing leaders drive positive financial impact.  High-performing leaders create a culture of compliance.  High-performing leaders have high levels of associate engagement and lower levels of turnover.  The high-performing CEOs have figured this out and have assurances through their organization’s performance dashboards that their teams are focused on improving outcomes.  We work with these CEOs to execute solutions that transition key service lines toward long-term refinement and elite performance.


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