CEOs, CFOs don't see recession as a barrier to growth

Hospital and health system executives aim to strengthen resilience and readiness in preparation for an economic downturn, but most CEOs and CFOs do not see a recession as a barrier to growth, according to Mercer's "2023 Executive Outlook" survey. 

In October, 87 percent of CEOs and CFOs believed the global economy was already in or about to enter a recession, according to the report. Forty-nine percent said they were more concerned about the effect of inflation compared to a recession, while 43 percent were optimistic that inflation rates would lower in 2023.

CEOs and CFOs are most worried about staffing shortages and how they will affect patient care. The rising costs of supplies and labor and how they will affect hospital margins are also concerns, but tenured executives will lean on their experiences leading through previous crises to overcome the inflationary and labor challenges facing them today. 

"We've been living with boom-and-bust cycles through the pandemic — surges of patients, people not coming in for routine care, not having enough staff to accommodate volumes, inflationary impacts up the wazoo, etc., so it's not like we're not prepared for more uncertainty," Mike Slubowski, president and CEO of Livonia, Mich.-based Trinity Health, said in an interview with Becker's. "Anybody running a health system or any business right now, you've got to build into your plans the capability to manage uncertainty and respond quickly."

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