Health systems zero in on exec teams

At least half a dozen health systems announced changes to their executive ranks in the past month. 

As health systems find themselves in untenable financial positions and looming risk of an economic recession, job cuts and layoffs in hospitals and health systems are increasingly likely. In a report released Oct. 18 from Kaufman Hall based on response from 86 health system leaders, 46 percent said labor costs are the largest opportunity for cost reduction — up significantly from the 17 percent of leaders who said the same last year. 

Job cuts at hospitals may seem counterintuitive given the nation's widely known shortages of healthcare workers. But as hospitals weather one of their most financially difficult years, some are reducing administrative staff, not filling vacant jobs and reorganizing or shrinking their executive teams to curb costs.  

Combined, adjustments to executive teams of HCA Healthcare, Sharp HealthCare, MemorialCare, Kettering Health, Sanford Health and Summa Health affect at least 32 individuals or roles. All were announced in the past month and are summarized below, beginning with the most recent, with links to more comprehensive coverage of the changes. 

1. Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare announced a dozen executive changes and the creation of a third operating group Oct. 25. The 182-hospital system's three groups are now divided into the American group, national group and Atlantic group, with each overseeing five domestic divisions. Each group has a president and each domestic division has a president. All executive moves involved in the reorganization are listed here.

2. San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare is reorganizing executive leadership for its seven hospitals, which will be divided into a three-hospital group and a four-hospital group, each overseen by one executive. The system is also creating new executive roles — chief nursing executive and chief clinical and transformation officer. 

3. MemorialCare Long Beach (Calif.) Medical Center and MemorialCare Miller Children's & Women's Hospital Long Beach made four executive moves as part of strategic changes to executive leadership after the unexpected resignations of CEO John Bishop and former COO Ike Mmeje this summer. 

4. Fourteen-hospital Kettering (Ohio) Health will keep two executive roles vacant for the time being after the leaders stepped down from their leadership roles. Kettering Health President Wally Sackett and Chief Administrative Officer Terry Burns were out of their roles effective Oct. 7.

5. Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health announced plans in October to lay off an undisclosed number of staff, a decision that President and CEO Bill Gassen says is "to streamline leadership structure and simplify operations." Mr. Gassen said the layoffs primarily affect nonclinical areas and that they will "not adversely impact patient or resident care in any way."

6. Akron, Ohio-based Summa Health rolled out 10 changes to its executive team with the creation of three roles, elimination of four roles and appointments of three senior leaders. Cliff Deveny, MD, Summa Health president and CEO, said the leadership changes announced Oct. 4 are being made to better align the system with ongoing changes in healthcare, to become more efficient and to streamline decision making.


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