The keys to completing a successful merger or acquisition: 5 notes from hospital execs

When completing a merger or acquisition, it's crucial to have a clear-cut mission and be able to explain the "why" behind every decision, according to a group of hospital executives at a recent leadership panel. 

Four executives discussed their approaches to making deals, what they considered the hardest part of a merger or acquisition and advice for fellow hospital leaders during the Becker's Hospital Review 8th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable in November.

The panelists included: 

  • Michael Hildebrand, chief of staff of Columbia, S.C.-based Prisma Health and president of the Greenville Health Authority. 
  • John Herman, CEO of Slidell, La.-based Ochsner Northshore. 
  • Douglas Watson, CFO of Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health. 
  • Richard Tanzella, CEO of Conyers, Ga.-based Piedmont Rockdale Hospital. 

Five key takeaways from their discussion: 

  1. You don't always get what you're expecting. When it comes to mergers and acquisitions, you frequently run into challenges you weren't expecting.

  2. Set clear-cut goals. It is important to define what your goals are for the deal and figure out what you can do together that you can't do alone. Make all decisions based on those goals.

  3. Communication is key. Communication is vital between all parties in a merger or acquisition. Often, parties may think they're on the same page, only to find out late in the process that they're not.

  4. Know what kind of deal you're making. It may seem obvious, but there are key differences between a merger and an acquisition and it's important to know what to expect out of a deal. With an acquisition there's a clear expectation that one entity is joining the other and there will be a new way of doing things.

  5. Always know the "why." With every decision you make in a deal, you need to be able to explain why you're making that decision and be able to justify it to everyone involved. 

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