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Insights from ACHE Congress on Healthcare – What We Heard From Our Colleagues

By Neill Marshall and Ivan Bartolome

hsp-mission-minded-healthcareAfter attending the recent ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership, we’ve been thinking about the outstanding healthcare executives we met and considering the common themes that emerged from our meetings with many attendees.

Neill Marshall
I was fortunate to see many long-time colleagues and meet with numerous executives. Here are some insights I took away from my conversations with them:

  • The number of senior-level opportunities is low. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some great opportunities available, but the total number of openings feels lower than anyone remembers.
  • Executive compensation and benefits are higher, and there is no end in sight to this trend.
  • The operational and financial challenges facing healthcare executives is causing many to question their organizations’ first-quarter financials. Everyone is struggling with how best to deal with the perfect storm of higher costs for labor and supplies while revenue is flat or declining. Many of those with whom I spoke said it has never been tougher to be the leader of a hospital or health system.
  • Mega-mergers continue to mystify most, with very few genuinely understanding the rationale behind many organizational combinations. Some think we will eventually see the unraveling of some of these “bigger is better” mergers.
  • When I broached the topic of the increase in no-confidence votes, no one was surprised that in 2022 there were twice as many as in any other year since 2000. The universal feeling was 2023 could probably be worse mainly due to all of the factors we mentioned previously. Many said the number of no-confidence votes was probably low due to the unreported number, especially those initiated by a board.

Ivan Bartolome
I volunteered to help with ACHE’S Career Advising Training session for one morning. In retrospect I wish I had volunteered to help more and will do so for future Congresses. I spoke with five health care leaders that morning who were in various stages of their careers and various places of contemplation about where they want to go in their career path. I believe all benefitted from our conversation.

One of the leaders I met had made a difficult job transition pre-pandemic and told me she thought “karma connected me to you.” Now, I don’t think my counsel is that unique. Instead, I believe she felt there was a lot of value in having another healthcare leader listen to her journey. This is something special that ACHE provides to its members. Kudos to ACHE for creating this space and opportunity for honest, transparent conversation about our members’ career aspirations.

It was also great to connect with Mike Broscio who is a former leader at ACHE. He was career advising as well! The professional contacts we make at ACHE Congress can be invaluable. The way we help each other via ACHE is invaluable. At HealthSearch Partners, we’re proud to do our part in supporting this outstanding organization.

About the authors: 

With more than 30 years of experience in healthcare recruiting and special expertise in physician-related consulting, Neill Marshall has been involved in hundreds of senior level assignments. He’s held leadership roles with major executive search firms. His early experience includes healthcare supply sales. Neill holds a Bachelor’s in Business Administration/Management degree from Texas A&M University. He has spoken to professional groups, trustee groups and boards of directors on physician recruiting and other healthcare issues and has authored journal articles and promotional publications.

 Ivan Bartolome is one of six original Managers of the HealthSearch Partners Board of Directors. Throughout his 30 plus years of leadership, management, and executive search, he has devoted much of his service to progressive healthcare organizations who want to transform their C-suites by recruiting high quality, mission-minded senior executives. Ivan has a strong history with healthcare executive search. Through his search experience he has honed his executive development skills and partnered with some of the top leaders in the healthcare industry. He has participated in the successful completion of hundreds of executive search assignments for medical centers, health systems and academic programs that has made a difference in the communities they serve. Ivan has a Master‘s in Health Services Administration degree from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor’s in Corporate Communications from Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU).

About HealthSearch Partners: 
HealthSearch Partners is a nationally recognized healthcare executive search firm. We partner with mission-driven hospitals and health systems to find leaders who are focused on success. As a mid-sized firm, our senior search leaders work with clients throughout the engagement, accessing a larger pool of talent, to find the right candidate that is the right fit.