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August 16, 2023
David Burda
Economics Outcomes System Dynamics

Predicting a Spike in Hospital CEO Turnover in 2023

My theory on hospital CEO turnover held for another year.

In 2022, the hospital CEO turnover rate was 16%, according to the latest annual hospital CEO turnover report from the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). That matches the turnover rates in both 2020 and 2021.

What do those three years have in common? That’s right. The COVID-19 pandemic — the biggest public health crisis in more than a century. My theory: During times of trouble or dramatic change, the CEO turnover rate will hold steady, if not drop, because conservative hospital boards will be too afraid to switch leaders during a serious threat to their historic business models.

I first suggested that may be the case in a 2020 blog post, and checked my predictions in both a 2021 blog post and a 2022 blog post. I’m anything if not obsessive.

The flatlined hospital CEO turnover rate also helps explain the flatlined transition to value-based care, digital transformation and customer-based business models. Same CEOs clinging to the status quo and their jobs.

Perhaps the biggest test of my theory will be the hospital CEO turnover rate this year, which the ACHE will publish about this same time in 2024. As you know, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services pulled the plug on the federal COVID-19 public health emergency on May 11.

So, as far as the government is concerned, there is no pandemic. And, if there’s no pandemic, there’s nothing for CEOs to blame for whatever clinical, financial or operational woes their hospitals are having.

If my theory holds, the hospital CEO turnover rate will increase in 2023. We’ll see.

Thanks for reading and following along.


About the Author

David Burda

David Burda began covering healthcare in 1983 and hasn’t stopped since. Dave writes this monthly column “Burda on Healthcare,” contributes weekly blog posts, manages our weekly newsletter 4sight Friday, and hosts our weekly Roundup podcast. Dave believes that healthcare is a business like any other business, and customers — patients — are king. If you do what’s right for patients, good business results will follow.

Dave’s personnel experiences with the healthcare system both as a patient and family caregiver have shaped his point of view. It’s also been shaped by covering the industry for 40 years as a reporter and editor. He worked at Modern Healthcare for 25 years, the last 11 as editor.

Prior to Modern Healthcare, he did stints at the American Medical Record Association (now AHIMA) and the American Hospital Association. After Modern Healthcare, he wrote a monthly column for Twin Cities Business explaining healthcare trends to a business audience, and he developed and executed content marketing plans for leading healthcare corporations as the editorial director for healthcare strategies at MSP Communications.

When he’s not reading and writing about healthcare, Dave spends his time riding the trails of DuPage County, IL, on his bike, tending his vegetable garden and daydreaming about being a lobster fisherman in Maine. He lives in Wheaton, IL, with his lovely wife of 40 years and his three children, none of whom want to be journalists or lobster fishermen.

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