Almost a quarter of C-level hospital executives named recruitment of cardiologists and other cardiovascular (CV) professionals as one of their biggest challenges in running a CV business unit in a survey by the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The results released March 6 were based on responses from 300 hospital executives and CV professionals from 291 hospitals and medical facilities.
Reimbursement and financial concerns continue to gnaw at both executives and professionals, with 21 percent listing fiscal issues among their toughest challenges. The two groups were almost evenly in agreement on that point, with 20 percent of executives and 22 percent of CV professionals choosing finances as a top issue. They were in near agreement that maintaining appropriate staff levels was a challenge at 10 percent for executives and 11 percent for CV professionals.
But recruiting cardiologists and CV staff to their organizations topped the list of challenges for executives, with 24 percent selecting that item. Only 10 percent of CV professionals, by comparison, thought recruitment was a hurdle. On the other hand, 9 percent of CV professionals tagged competition from other providers as a major challenge, compared with 5 percent of executives.
The survey was part of the ACC’s Hospital Executive Leadership Awareness and Attitudes study that included a survey of 100 C-level executives and 200 CV business line administrators. The study represented a mix of hospitals across geography, location (urban/suburban/rural), bed size and hospital type, according to the ACC. Interviews were conducted by telephone between Oct. 10, 2011, and Nov. 2, 2011.
The survey also investigated integration trends. When asked if their organization had acquired a CV practice in the past two years, 25 percent of CV professionals and 16 percent of executives responded yes. Twenty-one percent of CV professionals and 18 percent of executives said their organization had considered acquiring a CV practice in that time frame, and 14 percent of CV professionals and 16 percent of executives said their organization planned to make an acquisition in the near future.
- Forty-six percent said that practices are completely integrated with their organization and 27 percent said practices were partially integrated with plans to complete the process;
- Seventy-nine percent of respondents said their organization internally provided continuing medical education opportunities for staff, and 36 percent said their organization foots the whole bill for education support for CV specialists;
- Seventy percent said their organization provided funding and reimbursement for attending conferences;
- Eighty-three percent reported that their organizations participated in ACC quality initiatives; and
- Seventy-two percent of executives and 80 percent of CV professionals considered it important for cardiologists to hold the designation of a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology.
The ACC said it initiated the Hospital Executive Leadership Research program to better quantify findings and establish benchmark attitudes that will help in its efforts to engage and partner with hospitals.