Southerland Partners Leading CEO Search for Medical Center Hospital

October 13, 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, Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, TX enlisted Dallas-based executive search firm Southerland Partners to lead the search for its next CEO. Keith Southerland, the search firm’s managing partner, is leading the assignment.

The opening came about when CEO Bill Webster announced that he will be retiring after 17 years with the hospital. “It’s hard to walk away but there comes a time,” said Mr. Webster. “This is a good time to pass the baton to someone that will approach this position with fresh energy and carry the mission forward.”

As with most organizations, the CEO at Medical Center Hospital provides the leadership and has responsibility and accountability for the overall strategic planning and performance of the system.  As the search firm describes the role, the hospital’s board and CEO assure the system’s relevance to the community, the fulfillment of the system’s mission and vision, and the accountability of the system to its diverse constituents.

Medical Center Hospital has served Ector County and the surrounding 17 counties of the Permian Basin for over 65 years. It opened as an 85-bed hospital in 1949, and grew from a small county facility into a prosperous 402-bed level II trauma center with over 1,700 employees and 350 physicians serving over 100,000 patients annually.

Healthcare Specialists

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


Tapping Outside Talent for Life Science and Healthcare
For these top 50 executive recruiters working in the life science and healthcare sectors, the last decade has been one of transformation. Pressure on pricing, regulatory changes, emerging innovations, growth, and an uncertain political environment have all helped shape a new field of play.

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 just released U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, healthcare added 23,000 jobs, in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months (up 27,000). The employment increase in ambulatory healthcare services (25,000) was partially offset by a decline in nursing care facilities (by 9,000). 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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