The annual turnover rate of hospital chief executive officers hit its lowest level since 1990 last year, according to the latest CEO turnover figures from the Chicago-based American College of Healthcare Executives.
The figures are another indication that vacancies in the healthcare job market are getting harder to find for a variety of reasons, such as restructuring efforts that are claiming many hospital jobs across the country.
The ACHE recently reported that 13.9% of the top spots at hospitals turned over last year, compared with 14.5% in 1992.
The 1993 rate is the lowest since 1990, when 12.8% of hospital CEO positions changed hands.
"The decline in turnover rates between 1992 and 1993 is minimal," said ACHE President Thomas Dolan. "My sense is that people are holding tight right now because of reform, and they don't want to change leadership."
Mr. Dolan said he expects an upswing in the turnover rate after the passage and implementation of any major national healthcare reform plan.
The highest hospital CEO turnover rate occurred in 1987, the first year for which the ACHE produced such figures. That year, 24.2% of the top hospital jobs turned over. The annual turnover rate has steadily dropped since then with the exception of an upward spike in the rate in 1991, when 16.7% of the CEO positions changed hands.
Meanwhile, after adjusting for the number of hospitals within a state, the ACHE also reported CEO turnover rates in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
The five states with the highest adjusted hospital CEO turnover rates last year were Alaska, 28.5%; Wyoming, 26.3%; the District of Columbia, 25.3%; Alabama, 22.1%; and Hawaii, 19%.
The five states with the lowest adjusted hospital CEO turnover rates last year were Rhode Island and Delaware, which reported no turnover; Nevada, 3.8%; Connecticut, 4.5%; and Vermont, 5.1%.
A number of other studies have indicated that the healthcare job market is stabilizing and, perhaps, shrinking.
For example, the turnover rates of psychiatric hospital administrators plummeted to 8.1% last year from an eye-popping 30.9% in 1992, according to a recent report from the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems (Aug. 1, p. 20).
The 1992 turnover rates as well as the 25.6% turnover rate in 1991 reflected the turmoil that hit the psychiatric hospital industry those years.
And, earlier this year, the American Hospital Association released a report that found that the vacancy rates in 19 of 26 allied health job categories at hospitals declined between January 1991 and July 1992. That included a drop in the nurse vacancy rate to 5.3% from 8.1%.