ACHE report: High healthcare CEO turnover rates now the norm


The high healthcare CEO turnover rates seen over the past several years continued in 2016, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).

The turnover rate was 18% for healthcare CEOs in 2016, down from the record high of 20% in 2013, ACHE announced. Still, this level was approximately equivalent to those seen over the past few years, which the association notes are among the highest in the past 20 years.

Structural changes in the industry appear to be among the main drivers of this trend, according to ACHE President and CEO Deborah J. Bowen. “The ongoing consolidation of healthcare organizations, continuing movement toward new models of care and retiring leaders from the baby boomer era,” she said in the announcement, are likely influences behind the high turnover rates.

These results align with other recent reports of unprecedented turnover throughout hospitals, which are on pace to turn over half their overall staff every five years, according to previous reporting byFierceHealthcare. High turnover rates in the C-suite present organizations with problems beyond recruitment and retention, however, since changes to top leadership can have a ripple effect throughout the leadership pipeline.

RELATED: Hospitals nationwide face unprecedented turnover, report says

With the multiyear trend continuing unabated, Bowen urges healthcare organizations to ensure they have developed succession plans and that they keep them up to date. “Succession planning should include not only naming and preparing immediate successors to C-suite positions, but more broadly an emphasis on developing the pipeline of future leaders,” she said.

ACHE found the highest rate of turnover in the District of Columbia, which came in at a whopping 67%. That result appears to be an outlier, as the second- and third-highest states of New Hampshire and Washington came in at 38% and 30%, respectively. All other states showed adjusted turnover percentages under 30. Alaska, North Dakota and Delaware showed the most stable trends, all three in single digits.

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