Eight in 10 freestanding hospitals surveyed said they didn't routinely prepare for turnover among midlevel and top leadership, according to a survey released by the American College of Healthcare Executives.
Larger hospitals and those with older chief executive officers were more likely to have chosen a successor for their CEO.
One-fourth of freestanding hospitals without a named CEO successor reported not having internal candidates, and 46% said selecting a successor was not a high priority.
Planning the transition between leaders is important because it helps maintain smooth relations among management, doctors, professional employees and the community, ACHE President and CEO Tom Dolan said.
Of 158 hospitals that responded to a question on the importance of ethnic diversity in assembling a short list of successor candidates, 9% said it was "considered mandatory," while 87% said it was not important.
Nearly 720 freestanding hospitals, or 44% of those solicited, replied to the mail-in poll. The survey was conducted by a Rush University professor and an Atlanta-based executive search firm and partially paid for by the ACHE.
The ACHE said it will release the survey report to members and present results of the survey at its March 2005 congress.