A year of C-suite layoffs, streamlining

Hospital C-suites face tough decisions as they focus on key areas such as quality, growth and strategy to ensure long-term success. These decisions range from service cuts to streamlining leadership structures. 

Earlier this year, Habersham Medical Center in Demorest, Ga., laid off four executives. The layoffs were part of cost-cutting measures before the hospital joined Gainesville-based Northeast Georgia Health System. And more recently, Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, Calif., confirmed this month that it is laying off workers to adjust its staffing levels. Positions throughout the organization are affected, including management and executives, "to align our staffing with hospital volume, which has been 25% lower than historical trends." 

These types of streamlining decisions have occurred amid an evolution of the C-suite. This evolution has involved adding new roles to executive teams, as well as eliminating or opting not to fill a certain position. Some organizations have also combined roles, or executives are leaving an organization as roles shift. 

Corewell Health East, part of Corewell Health, which has dual headquarters in Grand Rapids and Southfield, Mich., is letting go of three leaders as it makes various leadership changes to improve the region. Several leaders will take on permanent new roles. Others, including Darryl Elmouchi, MD, interim president of Corewell Health East, will serve in an interim capacity during searches for permanent leaders. Several leaders will also depart Corewell Health. 

Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist also recently said several leadership transitions are in the works at some of its community hospitals as it is developing a new, streamlined leadership model across the facilities. As part of the restructuring, Chad Brown will serve as president of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist's South and West areas; Cathleen Wheatley will have executive oversight over Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Davie Medical Center in Bermuda Run, N.C.; and Bill James, who became president of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Lexington (N.C.) Medical Center in 2014, will step down from the position.

Another strategy seen at several systems in recent months: offering voluntary separation to workers. For example, approximately 60 employees took advantage of the voluntary separation opportunity at Coral Gables, Fla.-based Baptist Health, a spokesperson told Becker's on Nov. 29.

The 12-hospital health system announced the voluntary separation opportunity this summer, citing financial challenges. 

"With financial headwinds stemming from rising costs, decreased reimbursement, staffing shortages and other industry factors, we must continue to focus on being a more efficient organization," Baptist Health President and CEO Bo Boulenger told staff.

Executives at the director level and above were eligible to apply for the voluntary separation opportunity, and there was no specific target number. End dates for those who accepted the opportunity may vary depending on organizational needs, a spokesperson said.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to leadership structures, as each organization has individual needs and markets. But executive roles continue to be part of streamlining decisions in various ways.

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