When recruiting a Cardiovascular Administrator for a full service cardiac program, the first thing to start with is a job description. A job description should include information such as to whom the position reports to, the health system’s goals for cardiovascular services, the number of physicians working in cardiovascular services, information about the Medical Directors of Cardiovascular Surgery/Cardiology Services, the number of procedures in the cardiac cath lab/cardiac surgery, number of employees, number of managers reporting to the Administrator, recent cardiac patients’ data, and information regarding peers in the health system. Salary range, annual bonus, benefits and relocation should also be included. An exact salary is not necessary in the beginning stages but a range should be provided to secure qualified candidates. Keep in mind that cardiovascular services are typically the health system’s biggest source of revenue.
The cardiovascular service line administrators will provide leadership for program growth, development and implementation of the Cardiovascular Product Line—Cardiovascular Surgery, Cardiovascular Critical Care, Cardiac Cath Labs, Electrophysiology Labs, Non-Invasive Cardiology, Cardiac Rehabilitation, possibly Level 1 or 2 Trauma Center for cardiovascular patients and the cardiac data information system.
The ideal candidate should have a minimum of three years of executive management experience in a Cardiovascular Product Line setting for a hospital with a similar or larger heart program (candidates for large cardiovascular programs need to have experience running a cardiovascular program with at least 600 open heart surgeries and over 7,500 cath lab procedures). This position requires excellent communication skills, extensive experience in physician relations and cardiovascular product line administration. The administrator is responsible for ensuring high quality, cost-effective patient care with careful attention paid to issues of customer and physician satisfaction.
Look for candidates with strong experience in growing cardiovascular programs in competitive regions that have experience working with cardiac physicians in helping the health system to meet their goals. You need a proven candidate who has made a significant difference in growing revenue and cardiac patient data.
Look for candidates applying for the right reasons such as moving to a place they want to reside long-term or looking to move up within the health system. It is important to look for candidates with excellent cardiovascular administrator experience in a growing cardiac program that show a strong record of keeping their positions for at least three years. This position will have Directors and managers handling the daily patient care services but the Administrator needs to stay involved with the daily operations to keep everything running smoothly.
The future of finding qualified candidates for these types of positions is going to get more difficult as the number of available management positions grows. Great cardiovascular administrators are well respected in their current health system and are typically not looking for a new position.
The health system needs to be committed to providing only the top qualified candidates with excellent cardiovascular experience that are interested in relocation and living in your city. The health system might interview 200 quality candidates and find just four stellar candidates for face-to-face interviews. The Human Resources Dept. needs to do all the legwork and screening of these 200 candidates and only select candidates that fulfill the health systems needs so as to not waste the health system's time and money by bringing in too many candidates for face-to-face interviews.
References are very important. The person to whom the position will report to should contact some of the references to gain insight as to whether the candidate is capable of handling the position’s needs. Cardiac physicians should contact physician references because physicians are better able to communicate system needs and goals with those involved in the same area of medicine. Ideally this should be done before the candidates come in for face-to-face interviews.
In face-to-face interviews the health system needs to have the right people involved with the process who have strong and positive feelings toward the health system. Poor attitudes and the surfacing of negative experiences discourage candidates from taking positions. Discuss why the position is available and any problems in the health system’s cardiovascular program. Detail the program’s expectations of this position.
It is important to understand candidate’s first impressions of the cardiovascular program. Are they interested in the position and if so when would they be available for hire? Do they see anything wrong with the cardiovascular program? To seal the deal keep interviews as close together as possible so the health system can make a timely decision and not lose out on great candidates due to time-lag. Cardiovascular services are often the biggest revenue producer, so hiring the perfect candidate is of uppermost importance.
David Langmas, The Langmas Group, Inc., Bend, Oregon, www.langmas.com