Summit Talent Group Hunts for Health System Chief Executives

December 23, 2015 – Executive search firm Summit Talent Group has been retained by Bon Secours Health System to search for chief executive officers for Physician Networks and St. Francis Medical Center.

Bon Secours Health System, based in Marriottsville, MD, is a $3 billion dollar not-for-profit Catholic health system that owns, manages or joint ventures with 18 acute care, five long term care, four assisted living, six retirement communities/senior housing, 14 home care and hospice services, and other facilities primarily on the East Coast. Bon Secours consists of more than 19,000 caregivers helping people in seven states.

Summit Talent Group, a boutique search firm based in Maryland, recruits in all facets of the healthcare continuum. The firm provides retained and interim recruiting services for not-for-profit, for-profit, academic, governmental and faith-based hospital systems, physician clinics and private practices, ambulatory and surgery centers, long-term-care, skilled nursing and rehabilitation operations, as well as home care agencies, healthcare consulting firms, higher education, pharmaceutical, insurance, bioscience and medical device companies.

Seth Lee, who co-founded the firm three years ago with partners Joann Sherrer and Mary Louise Howe, spent 11 years at Bon Secours as vice president of talent acquisition. During that time, he built one of the largest in-house executive recruitment functions in not-for-profit healthcare, enabling the health system to become independent of external search providers. Ms. Sherrer and Ms. Howe are also former employees of Bon Secours.

While at Bon Secours, Mr. Lee and his talent acquisition team launched the Health Care Talent Alliance, a revenue-generating service that sold executive search services to hospital systems, long term care organizations and physician practices.

“When we branched off from Bon Secours in 2012 as a boutique firm to serve the talent needs of the healthcare industry, we agreed to continue to provide recruitment services to the company,” said Mr. Lee, who said his decision to ‘go external’ allowed him and his team to expand their services to other health systems, yet still maintain a close partnership with Bon Secours.

The move seems to have been the right one, at the right time — as healthcare recruiting boutiques are now seen as one of the fastest growing segments among executive leadership service providers, according to research compiled by Hunt Scanlon Media.

Summit Talent Group has recruited senior-level management for a host of healthcare-oriented organizations, including Johns Hopkins Healthcare (VP, Medicare advantage), MD Anderson (director perioperative nursing), Bon Secours Richmond Health System (administrative director cardiology services), Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth St. Vincent (VP of business development), and INOVA Health (senior director revenue cycle ambulatory operations).

The firm is also currently conducting searches for Valley Health System (president), University of Colorado Health Memorial (director emergency service line), and Lourdes Hospital -Ascension Health (VP oncology).

“The biggest industry trend without a doubt is the consolidation of health systems into ‘big’ healthcare. Now, health systems have ‘corporate offices’ where the decision making model is highly centralized,” said Mr. Lee. “The downside is that it can slow the interview and selection process due to more layers of approval and governance matters.”

Mr. Lee said the need to source talent from more complex organizations is on the rise — as community-based hospital talent is not prepared for the rigors of multi-state and/or multi-matrix reporting structures — and this is complicating search efforts and leading to longer turnaround times.

“Candidates are also less willing to relocate to a wide variety of locations and disrupt their family lifestyle,” said Mr. Lee, who noted that total compensation for healthcare talent is rising as job demands become more acute and complex.

Mr. Lee said that as hospitals merge and become larger health systems, they have undertaken cost reduction and process improvement initiatives that also provide greater information technology and service imperatives. One area that has been targeted is recruitment.

“Health systems today have centralized and standardized recruitment tools for applicant tracking, background checks, search engine aggregation, advertising and the like,” said Mr. Lee.

Slowly, he said, some executive level recruitment has been orchestrated in-house. While this is a new trend, Mr. Lee said that over the next five years it will be more prevalent, especially for hard-to-fill director level roles. “These positions can be a real pain-point for health systems to find talent,” he said. “The challenge for search firms, long term, is to partner with the inside recruitment teams and not compete against them.”

As Hunt Scanlon research has unveiled, in-house recruiting is widely seen as an expanding competitive threat to the executive recruiting sector, as traditional methods of recruiting have been cast aside in the age of social media. Today, a more relentless focus has been put on finding talent based on expediency, speed and cost.

“In-house recruiting is not a new phenomenon,” said Scott A. Scanlon, founding chairman and CEO of Hunt Scanlon Media and the report’s editor-in-chief. “But it is now seen as scalable. That is why the dynamics have shifted so much, and so fast.”

Mr. Scanlon said that he agreed with Mr. Lee’s contention: “Finding new ways to work with talent acquisition professionals, rather than being defeated by them, is clearly the best course of action for executive recruiters moving forward. Our latest report, I hope, shows the way forward.”

Those interested in ordering a copy of In-House Recruiting: Best Practices Redefining Talent Acquisition are asked to click on this link for pricing and delivery information:

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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