AMN CEO Susan Salka Discusses Healthcare Strategy amid Economic, Regulatory Uncertainty

AMN CEO Susan Salka Discusses Healthcare Strategy amid Economic, Regulatory Uncertainty

In an article on the "daunting challenges" facing American business leaders in the face of worldwide political and regulatory uncertainty, The Wall Street Journal sought out the perspective of a number of distinguished CEOs across a variety of major industries, with healthcare staffing represented by AMN Healthcare CEO Susan Salka. (Staff Care is among the companies that makes up AMN's family of staffing and recruitment services.)

Describing these challenges as "unprecedented turbulence" taking the form of "deep political divisions in the U.S. and abroad, uncertainty over the strengthened U.S. dollar, the faster pace of technological change and looming global problems such as mass immigration, terrorism and climate change," authors Joann S. Lublin and John Simons quote professor Michael D. Watkins as stating that the year ahead “is going to be more volatile and more complex than previous years."

Representing the healthcare staffing industry in assessing this uncertain economic landscape, Ms. Salka told Lublin and Simons that her team's response to the current political and economic climate has been to step up the pace of strategy making — as opposed to waiting out a wave of uncertainty that has no discernible ending.

Ms. Salka doesn’t pay much attention "to public-policy predictions coming out of Washington these days," write the authors. "Demand for health services, she said, will continue to grow regardless of whether the new Trump administration moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act." Read the WSJ article here.

2017 Healthcare Strategy: Need for "More Swift Decisions" amid Uncertainty

This basis for 2017 healthcare strategy, then, can perhaps be boiled down to a resistance to trusting projections that may be ambiguous, and an understanding of the need for inspired leadership in the race of widespread uncertainty. "In the past 18 months, for instance, AMN expanded into executive search and acquired three search companies — after hearing from clients whose high-level interim positions remained vacant for too long."

“This has quickly become an important service for us," Ms. Salka told the authors. “We are making more swift decisions and being comfortable with the fact that we may not get everything exactly right.”

A long-time media favorite on healthcare business issues — including multiple appearances on Jim Cramer's Mad Money, like this one from early 2016 — Ms. Salka's comments led the WSJ article, and echoed the sentiments of Boston Consulting Group senior partner and managing director Martin Reeves, who predicted many “postponed commitments” in 2017 but warned that “too much caution can lead to paralysis.”

Ms. Salka's comments are also contrasted by more pessimistic appraisals of the current climate by other industry leaders — for instance, a biopharmaceutical company that's watching its recent EU expansion efforts jeopardized by the effects of Brexit vote (“almost everything we do doesn’t work,” said the CEO).

“In the world of healthcare, executives are waiting to learn the fate of the ACA,” writes Becker's Hospital Review's Tamara Rosin in an analysis of the WSJ article. “Until then, CEOs must determine how much they trust predictions on the health law and other public policy decisions.”

Susan Salka “said she no longer pays attention to these predictions coming from Washington, D.C.,” Rosin writes, “because whether or not President-elect Trump repeals the ACA, demand for healthcare services will continue.”

Staff Care and AMN specialize in not only staffing and recruiting locum tenens physicians and clinicians, but also with helping healthcare employers build an effective, robust and long-sighted staffing strategy. If you'd like to discuss your healthcare staffing and recruitment strategy with a specialist, we encourage you to contact us here, or submit a staffing request via this form.

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