The original merger that created the East Chestnut Regional Health System (ECRH) occurred 10 years ago. This merger was between ERMC and AH. AH had a rather dynamic leader who was about 57 years old at the time of the merger. The AH CEO became the new President and Chief Executive Officer of ECRH after the merger. Since this CEO had only worked in a smaller organization, he had not experienced the cultural changes and demands that occur after the merging of a large organization. Additionally, he began to change the culture of the organization such that decisions were made on a decentralized basis. He trusted the management team at AH to do the right things and make the right decisions with low supervision. However, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) who was put in charge was originally from AH but left 2 years after the merger with a new COO being put in place. This COO developed a rather poor reputation and was known to want to build his own empire at AH and to be dishonest at times. This reputation created a culture within the traditional AH that lacked a cohesive team effort to create a system. This positioning of the COO was left unattended by the President and CEO of ECRH since he was actively pursuing the acquisition of NMHC. The hospitals of NMHC were doing okay, but those in the consortium realized that their ability to stand alone was becoming difficult in today’s market. When the leadership of the consortium assessed the market as to a partnership, they decided that ECRH would be the best choice. The other option was to develop a for-profit hospital that also resided in Chestnut. The leadership was attracted to what they saw happen with AH. They liked that the central leadership of the system allowed AH to continue as their own entity without a lot of centralized control.
By the time all of this was put together, the President and CEO of ECRH was near retirement. He retired about three years after the merger activity was complete. During those three years, he became lax in his leadership role. ECRH deteriorated in market share and profitability during this time. Upon his retirement, the Board of ECRH performed a national search for a replacement. They employed Hunter Brown as the new President and CEO. Mr. Brown was the CEO of a smaller health system and had been in that position for nearly 10 years. Therefore, he had limited experience from other markets in the art of strategic implementation. However, he was also well trained, bright, and articulate in expressing his knowledge. He has now been the President/CEO of ECRH for nine months.
As for the remainder of the leadership team for ECRH, there is a newly hired corporate counsel. She has 15 years of experience and is extremely competent in the work that she does.
The CEO also hired a new Chief Financial Officer. He has taken good strides in managing the accounts receivable throughout the system as well as extracting exceptional dollars from high quality supply chain management.
The Chief Operating Officer (COO) is new and has three years of previous experience from the same organization where the CEO departed.
The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) has been retained from the old leadership team. His reputation is excellent, and he works well with other physicians, including the medical staff and the employed physicians.
The Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) is three years away from retirement. She is known for not getting along with the medical staff and will always defend nursing when at times this is not appropriate.
The Senior Vice President for Human Resources is competent and respected by management and staff throughout the organization.
The remainder of the leadership team was retained from the old regime. This included information technology, employed physician group leadership, marketing, human resources, and other vice presidents or directors responsible for varying service lines. It should be noted that the IT leadership is just completing the implementation of the EPIC system. The future for this team depends on how well the overall implementation of the system goes. Likewise, those in the marketing department will need to be stellar in senior leadership advisement regarding the marketing of complex issues that will be encountered ahead. They have been told if marketing misses the target, then replacements will occur within this department.
The new CEO inherited the management team of AH and NMHC. For NMHC the organizational structure was left intact with the COOs for each of the individual hospitals being retained. It was agreed that this traditional structure would be left intact for at least five years. This agreement was near its end and the new CEO had plans to change the existing structure as well as management. This change was being considered for this year’s strategic plan development. Even if the structure of NMHC was going to be changed to a more direct relationship with corporate leadership, the existing COO’s would be retained as they have performed well since the merger. As for the COO of AH, he had been recently terminated. An interim COO is now in place pending the board approved closure of this hospital.
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