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Redefining the H(ospital) from the Hiring Perspective

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This article captures discussion from the 2014 Advisory Council Meeting. The Advisory Council is a distinguished group of HR leaders that meets yearly at the American Hospital Association to discuss pressing topics in the field. For more information about how you can get involved in the Advisory Council, email Amy Goble, Vice President, Health Career Center.

From the chief human resource officer (CHRO) point of view, how are the pace and the key drivers of the changing healthcare landscape affecting recruitment and retention? A group of hiring experts representing health systems around the country gathered at the AHA headquarters to give their feedback on this topic.

As healthcare broadens to include partnerships, freestanding facilities, new technology and payer models and more, hospitals are realizing that they are no longer at the center of this landscape. They are looking at the value-based, population health model that national policy is moving toward and seeking to lead, rather than follow too far behind.

From an institutional perspective, change leadership is fundamental and is reflected in C-suite and officer positions. CEOs have to be innovators and change managers in heavily matrixed organizations in which executive staff often have multiple reporting relationships.

At some institutions, the impetus for innovation occurs unexpectedly. In Southeast Texas, large and small health centers compete for the waves of older populations that are moving there. When a hurricane washed the University of Texas medical branch into the Gulf of Mexico, the situation provided a unique challenge to build new and encouraged the development of value-based care delivery.

Other institutions have experienced mergers and partnerships, but there are often more costs related to such growth. One recruiter with a national children’s medical center acknowledged that the physician groups they have acquired are good feeders—bringing in more patients—but that an unexpected rise in costs means the long-term prospect for her institution is still unclear.

With changes in reimbursements, key staff leaders in functional roles must lead efficiently. An upper Midwest health system that has seen an influx of immigrants from many cultures said her organization needs to grow leaner by centralizing some functions. They looked at volume, census and their contingent workforce, making sure their clinical rotations were effective. And, even with 60 different community languages to deal with, the hospital realized it did not need a full contingent of uninsured interpreters all the time. Since the hospital was absorbing this risk, they are looking to change their model.