Driven by another year of frenzied merger and acquisition activity, the turnover rate among the hospital industry's top executives hit a five-year high last year, according to data to be published shortly by the American College of Healthcare Executives.
The annual turnover rate was 15.4% last year, up more than a full percentage point from 1994's rate of 14.3%. Last year's rate was the highest since 1991, when 16.7% of the top slots at the nation's hospitals turned over.
The highest turnover rate recorded since the ACHE began keeping figures occurred in 1988, when 18.4% of the hospital chief executive officer jobs turned over. The lowest rate was 12.8%, in both 1983 and 1990.
In the ACHE's latest report, the Chicago-based professional society adjusted the turnover rates of several previous years because it obtained more accurate data for those years. Consequently, the turnover rates in the latest report may not match some rates contained in previous reports.
The report will appear in the May/June issue of the ACHE's bimonthly journal, Healthcare Executive. The figures are based on American Hospital Association data from 5,001 acute-care hospitals.
The second consecutive yearly rise in the CEO turnover rate corresponds with the boom in hospital merger and acquisition activity. Some 735 hospitals were involved in mergers or acquisitions in 1995, according to figures compiled by MODERN HEALTHCARE* (Dec. 18/25, 1995, p. 43). That's up from 674 in 1994.
Frequently, when hospital ownership changes hands, so does a facility's top executive, voluntarily or not.
The five areas with the highest "adjusted" turnover rates last year were Alaska (30.4%), District of Columbia (25.3%), Hawaii (23.7%), Georgia (22.8%) and Nevada (22.8%). Adjusted rates factor in the number of hospitals in an area.
The five areas with the lowest adjusted turnover rates were Maine (6%), Wyoming (6.1%), Puerto Rico (6.5%), Idaho (7.6%) and Rhode Island (7.6%).