13 Legal Issues for Hospitals and Health Systems in 2011

1) Lawsuits against the mandate to buy health insurance.

Since Congress is unlikely to repeal healthcare reform in the face of President Obama’s veto, any repeal in the next two years would have to come through the courts, and that prospect is becoming more likely. A federal judge in Florida became the first to reject the whole law, rather than just its highly unpopular mandate to buy insurance. He concluded the law is not “severable,” meaning if one part is removed, the rest would have to go, too. That’s a legal concept, but it is also an apt description of the interlocking nature of the law’s provisions. Keeping the popular protection for people with pre-existing conditions, for example, requires that everyone have insurance. Without such a mandate, people would have no reason to buy coverage until they got sick.

Physician Integration: Hospital Medical Leaders Share Challenges, Strategies

Healthcare leaders are finding that physician integration will be critical for achieving the increased efficiencies and coordination necessary for meeting healthcare reform standards and for producing savings. Although integral to the formation of accountable care organizations, hospitals are pursuing physician integration regardless of plans to create an ACO because of the changing landscape in healthcare. While these changes are just beginning, several chief medical officers and medical affairs executives share challenges and strategies to establish a successfully integrated system.

A common challenge noted among leaders is the lack of specific information regarding ACOs and other models for physician integration. Sharing knowledge and educating others is thus key to beginning to align physicians with a health system. Kersey Winfree, MD, CMO of Oklahoma City-based SSM Health Care of Oklahoma, says education is needed at both the basic level — what integration means — and at a higher level, addressing the implications of integration and other changes in healthcare delivery

Healthcare Executive Hiring Trends

Healthcare recruitment is progressively changing due to Industry demand. This is a dynamic industry that is changing rapidly as more and more demands are placed upon it and yet more efficiency is needed. One area that is most in need of more efficiency within the industry is healthcare management.

There are many problems with healthcare executive management. This is a shame for the greatest healthcare nation in the world; however, it’s often lost on people that the business end of things must be taken care of, even in medicine. What are some new methodologies job seekers should be aware of before they embark on their search for a healthcare executive management position?

It appears as though hospitals today are stealing talent. They are seemingly becoming more numb to whether or not this is deemed as “unethical” or not. There’s only so much talent in healthcare management, and those talented ones who aren’t being “perfectly” treated in their current position are going to get calls from the healthcare recruitment headhunters. Closely managed brands and shrewd employee referral programs are a growing part of this trend in executive healthcare recruitment.

Another strong trend we are starting to see grow in the Industry is healthcare executives need not have medical backgrounds. Therefore, you might see a variety of diverse backgrounds entering the healthcare executive realm. More doctors get appointed as healthcare executives and fail miserably at these positions. Hospitals now are developing quicker ways of spotting poor managers in these instances. If you seek a position as a healthcare executive, be ready to take over for a failing manager and be able to turn the ship around in a matter of months. This is the type of fast paced environment you should be ready for in the healthcare industry.

As a healthcare organization, you should develop a strong brand. Share positive feedback via word of mouth and social networking; be sure to mention things such how well-managed your organization is and how well you treat your employees. If you’re recruiting for healthcare executives, get together a list of your organization’s greatest strengths and share them. What are you doing right with your management and your people-relating efforts, and how do you seek to expand them and build upon this good foundation by hiring more executive talent? Let the word of your best practices and ambitions spread far and wide, on the Internet via a strong social campaign and offline as well.

While alluding to the aforementioned, try to find ways of retaining your best executives. There is a huge turnover rate in this field. It’s tremendously costly. If you can figure out how to reward executives who retain talent, you’ll save your organization large amounts of money even as you increase profits. If you do need to recruit new executive talent, pick out that talent which will, in turn, be able to help you retain your best internal talent.

Healthcare executives today shouldn’t be hold positions on the organization’s HR staff. They should not be doing the recruiting. Most executives who get transferred to this type of position are those who suffer from “burnout.” Some people feel they don’t have the proper mindset to go hiring other aggressive, take-charge executives into this trying profession. The solution is to seek quality executive healthcare recruiters who have an agency and understand the external point of view and have the savvy to pinpoint the dynamic needed within the hospitals and healthcare industry.

Remember these trends in healthcare executive hiring. They will grow stronger in the 21st century.


9 Leading Hospital CEOs Share Advice for Fellow Hospital Leaders

“Leadership is always about promoting change. Be transformative, look to the future and be a leading change agent. As healthcare leaders, we should take the position as a leader should: that we have to transform the delivery system. We have to do things very differently than we did in the past, and that has to come directly from the CEO.” To transform the system, Mr. Dowling says leaders cannot be limited by previous practices or philosophies. “Forget some of the past. Forget the way it was. Break new ground; be optimistic, upbeat and positive.” Helping to build a new healthcare system demands leaders take risks, Mr. Dowling says. “Take some bold steps and take some risks. You can’t be so nervous about failure.” Mr. Dowling says the future offers many opportunities for leaders to make positive changes in the healthcare system. “The next ten years are going to be very exciting. It’s a good time to be in healthcare — take advantage of it. It’s not a time to be pessimistic at all.”

Alexander J. Hatala, FACHE, President and CEO, Lourdes Health System, Camden, N.J.

The process of hiring great employees vs. Good employees

No employer wants to feel that they are hiring the sloppy seconds that got left over, when all the great job positions got filled up. However, there are still a lot of great employees out there. An employer simply needs to employ some great tactics to weed out the great employees, from the good or mediocre employees. Here are five points to consider.

  • 1. Review the length of tenure at the job, when you are reviewing a candidate’s resume. Stay away from candidates with a lot of job gaps, such as tenure less than a year. This could indicate a lack of commitment.
  • 2. If there are gaps in employment, question them. If they have been out of work for very long periods of time, it could indicate a criminal background in their record.
  • 3. If there are “overlaps” on the resume, then question these. While a candidate could have worked two jobs at once, or it could be a typo, the candidate could be inventing their employment history. Do a complete background check, with regards to the employment history.
  • 4. Keep a copy of your job description when you are conducting the interview. Use it like a checklist. The right candidate will match up to all, or at least most, of what is on your “checklist.”
  • 5. Make a pile of resumes of perfect candidates, and then a pile of resumes from the good candidates. Then, start making phone calls and qualifying. Listen to your gut instincts. The person for the position should match up to what is on paper. A candidate for a receptionist position should sound pleasant, polished, and professional, for example.

Bring out the best in your staff

Sometimes a manager can flat out forget that there is no department, without a team. While a manager or some other type of superior might be the star of the show, the show can’t move forward, or survive without the ensemble cast, or at the very least, a supporting cast working together as a team.

The fact is that the wise manager knows that when they are able to bring out the best in their employees, then everybody wins! But the unwise manager is afraid of anyone shining brighter than them, so they will keep the light and the talents of their employees hidden, or even stifled. This is a shame, because while the unwise and insecure manager is keeping the spotlight on themselves, all they are highlighting is poor management skills.

Here are some examples of an unwise manager

Healthcare Recruitment Today

Healthcare recruitment has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. The economic effects of recession have caused some fairly remarkable shifts in what healthcare industry hirers are looking for and want to see in those they would put on their payrolls. Therefore, it goes without saying that health care recruiters are seeking those who can meet these new demands.

One new trend in healthcare recruitment is providers seeking fewer, but more capable and qualified employees. The expenses in the health care industry have prompted this quality-over-quantity approach. Providers are also concerned about what may happen if the government intervention into the healthcare and health insurance industries continue and deepen, and they are now taking on recruitment methods that address their concerns by “trimming the fat” even as a greater percentage of the American population ages and becomes more in need of health care.

This means that competition is very fierce in the industry now. Those who seek gainful employment in the health care industry need educate themselves to gain the appropriate knowledge and skills needed to grow and succeed. It is a fact that the healthcare industry is the most robust labor market sector of the US economy, with now over 14 million employees. Keeping this in mind allows more college students to plan their futures in a growing market.

There are certain instances where it’s tougher being in the health care industry. According to Elaine Andolina, MS, RN, director of admissions at the University of Rochester School of Nursing, “Most of our grads are in our accelerated program, and they’re doing OK. The grads that have problems are the ones that go to the west coast, particularly California.” It’s an interesting statement that Andolina made; what is it about the west coast? Are there less jobs, is the Accelerated program not as good as the east coast? Are there less healthcare positions available on the west coast?

Meanwhile, Annessa Fort, Northwest branch manager in health care recruitment at Yoh, says “In occupational health, positions that used to require just an RN now require a BSN. We’ve seen a higher demand for RNs with case-management experience. With physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, employers are doing direct hires because they don’t want to bring them on as contractors and then have them leave.”

Primary Care Providers are straining under increased loads and pressures. As a result, experienced nurses who have achieved a higher level of training (NPs) are in high demand now, and that demand looks like it will continue growing. With the higher demand for skills and personal capability also comes greater employer incentives being disseminated. Mary Jo Goolsby, EdD, NP-C, Director of Education at the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, stated, “NPs have earned the reputation of providing high-quality, cost-effective care…We graduate 9,500 NPs per year, and they’re not finding that the job market is saturated…If a nurse practitioner wants to move into a new specialty area, she looks for an organization that will give her on-the-job training. NPs are looking for health insurance and long-term care insurance. They also look for sufficient staffing with medical and nursing assistants, and adequate space to see patients.”

Annessa Fort adds “We’re seeing NP’s and PA’s get Director-level roles, with the perks of upper management like annual bonuses and additional vacation time.” This can act as a motivator for NP’s and PA’s to strive to achieve greater positions within their industry and realize there is no “glass ceiling.”

Leadership is about focused effort not making Jacks of all trades

You get the best leadership results when you focus on mastery, instead of being good at some things. You are the best leader when you can get the best people for the best task, instead of trying to use a “one-size-fits-all” approach. If you try to do things any other way, then your task and projects will fail, everytime. When people can claim mastery, then they will be able to take accountability, instead of pointing fingers at others.

When your people are trained to be Jacks of all trades, then they can’t focus on what they need to be great at. The lack of focus will show in their work. The best thing for the organization, is to play up to the strengths of those in the organization. That means that the strengths of those in the organization need to be analyzed. Then, use the right people for the right task.

The best way to keep people engaged, is to use them to their best strengths and capacities. When people are utilized in the wrong way, or in the wrong task, then they will be mediocre at best. Worst case scenario, they suffer from burnout, and resentment.

The best way to leverage the talent of those in any organization, is to figure out their strengths. Figure out what they excel in, and then use them in those areas, so that they can shine and bring true value to the organization. A true leader will understand the value in this.

Focus More on Your Strengths, and Less on Weaknesses

If we are to find the best way to shine within our potential, then we need to find our greatest strengths.

There is an organization called the “Clifton StrengthsFinder.” They have produced an assessment that was featured in the book called StengthsFinders 2.0. The test gives you a top 5 theme report, and it allow for you to take a strengths assessment, so that you can evolve professionally, and personally.

Even if you aren’t familiar with the assessment, then you can still start learning about your unique strengths and talents. Most people have heard of the word, but they aren’t clear as to what talent is. A talent is a pattern of behavior that comes naturally to you. You might notice talent when you have the opportunity to use it at work.

When you think about yourself. Are you a competitive personality, or are you a curious person? These are talent attributes. If you find that there might be task or projects professionally that you are drawn to, its because you might have talents in certain areas. If you find that you can grasp certain concepts easily, then you probably have a talent in that area. An area of talent will grasp your attention, and all other streams of focus will seem to fade away. When someone is using their talents, then work won’t feel like work.

To further learn about about your talents, why don’t you ask for the input of others? People are happy to let you know when they have noticed your best attributes. Be sure to jot down any attributes of note when you get feedback.

When you think about a project or a task that you are about to take on, think about how you can apply your talents to the task. Also, think about what you are getting paid to do now. Do you have the innate ability to get things done,or do you have to strain yourself to your limit to get things done? What come effortlessly to you? When you figure this out, then you will be a lot closer to figuring how what your talents are, and how to apply them.

5 Changes That Can Increase a Hospital’s Value

A growing trend in healthcare is for hospitals and health systems to sell, partner or merge to form larger, more integrated organizations. These transactions offer several benefits to all parties involved, including improved efficiencies, cost savings and streamlined services. Hospitals that are selling can optimize the outcomes of the sale by learning how to increase the value of their facility.

The simple answer to increasing value is to increase earnings and decrease costs. But, in a time of declining reimbursements and a slowly recovering economy, manipulating the earnings/costs dichotomy becomes more difficult.  have no control over certain external factors, such as if the state has a certificate of need process, competition, demographics and geography, that influence the hospital’s value.

Hospitals in states without CONs are likely to have a lower value than those with CONs because there is no limit on where new hospitals are built. If a new hospital is built in the same town as an existing hospital, for instance, the latter will see a decrease in value. However, there are factors leaders have control over that can increase the hospital’s value.