Southerland Partners Leading CEO Search for Baptist Health

August 16, 2017 – As the healthcare industry continues its transformation, talent management remains a high priority. The shortage of physicians and other clinicians is one matter. But healthcare organizations must also fill new and expanding leadership roles to carry out strategic initiatives in response to reform efforts, and whatever changes Republicans in Washington, D.C. may deliver. This has produced a high demand for top-notch leaders in the sector.

Recently, Baptist Health in Louisville enlisted Dallas-based executive search firm Southerland Partners  to lead its search for a new CEO. Steve Hanson resigned in March after three years at the helm. VP and chief legal and regulatory affairs officer Janet Norton and CFO Steve Oglesby have been leading the health system together, on an interim basis. Keith Southerland, the search firm’s managing partner, is leading the assignment.

“Baptist Health is seeking a leader who will establish a culture of trust, transparency and inclusiveness, with strong fiscal discipline,” said Mr. Southerland. “We have conducted a nationwide search, focusing on large, integrated health systems. We are already at the client interview stage and anticipate an offer in September.”

The CEO role, as described by the healthcare group, provides the leadership and has responsibility and accountability for the overall strategic planning and performance of its system. Together, the board and CEO assure the system’s relevance to the community, the fulfillment of its mission and vision, and the accountability of the system to its diverse constituents.

Baptist Health is the largest hospital system in Kentucky with nine acute care hospitals totaling over 2,400 licensed beds. Its 300-plus points of care include outpatient facilities which offer urgent care, express care, occupational medicine, physical therapy and diagnostics. Its physician network consists of more than 3,000 employed and affiliated physicians.

Healthcare Specialists

Southerland Partners specializes in recruitment for complex integrated delivery systems, academic medical centers, children’s hospitals and payer organizations. The firm recently placed CEOs at Ardmore Institute of Health, St. Joseph’s and Healthcare System. It also filled the president post at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.


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Top 50 Ranking

Mr. Southerland has over three decades experience conducting executive searches for healthcare provider organizations. He has been involved in over 900 searches for prominent nonprofit multi-hospital health systems, professional associations, pediatric health systems, public hospitals, academic medical centers and managed care organizations.

Active Healthcare Sector

Healthcare is among the most rapidly growing employment fields, according to analysts at Hunt Scanlon Media, which tracks trends in the executive search and leadership solutions space.

According to the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, healthcare employment continued to trend skyward during the past month (up 39,000) with job gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (up 30,000) and hospitals (up 7,000). Healthcare has added 327,000 jobs over the past year.

“The hot positions within the healthcare sector are in supply chain, revenue cycle, finance and fundraising,” said Mr. Southerland. “The rise in physician employment has created a need for clinical and administrative leaders as well.”

The U.S. healthcare system has undergone the most dramatic reform in over three decades, shifting towards a team-based care model driven by value-based reimbursements and capitated contracts for population health management. “As a result, healthcare organization are undergoing major clinical, operational and technological transformations, causing organizations to re-evaluate the kind of business and clinical leaders they need to successfully deliver care in this new environment,” said John Gramer, president of Cejka Executive Search. “At the same time, the U.S. is facing increasing demand for healthcare services, thanks to the aging population and surge in the newly insured, and not enough physicians to meet that demand.”

“So, healthcare organizations are looking for expanded skill-sets in one of the most resource-constrained employment markets in decades,” he said. “The result is fierce competition for top healthcare talent, and growing demand for organizational design, succession planning and search services to help define and build the healthcare leadership teams of the future.”

Mr. Gramer characterized today’s healthcare employment market as among the most competitive and complex in decades. “Both healthcare leaders and practicing clinicians have greater career choices than in the past,” he said. “Healthcare reform has created additional opportunities for healthcare leaders to oversee care coordination, utilization management, employee health, and population health.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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