The CEO’s: Delta Trust’s French Hill & Baptist Health’s Russ Harrington

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 129 views 

What would happen if two chief executives sat down and shared thoughts with each other on what’s driving business decisions in their fields?

A new series we’ve started at Talk Business called “The CEO’s” seeks to find out.  The premise of the new segment is to have CEO’s in conversation with each other on important industry topics.  Future interviews include CEO Bennie Westphal of The Westphal Group, an oil and natural gas company, and CEO Ray Dillon of timber and real estate giant, Deltic Timber Corp.

In our first segment, Delta Trust & Bank CEO French Hill and Baptist Health System CEO Russ Harrington met recently for some smart talk on the current business climate and insight on the health care industry.

Highlights of the conversation included:

  • Hospitals working with physicians to integrate patient care and billing processes in anticipation of future “bundling” of services.
  • A shortage of primary and specialty physicians has hit and it is unlikely that medical schools can catch up to the demand. Harrington thinks it will require more emphasis on physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, and perhaps an “untitled” allied health professional that doesn’t exist today that will fill caregiver voids.
  • Federal spending cuts to rural hospitals (in an effort to reduce deficits) will hit Arkansas hard. Harrington predicted: “We’re going to see closure of [some rural] hospitals,” and he does not foresee hospitals like his being able to absorb those beds and buildings.
  • Harrington thinks the Congressional super-committee may come up with more major funding cuts. He’d rather have a 2% across-the-board cut because it would be more manageable.
  • Harrington also sees premium caps coming for health insurance through government regulation. When coupled with cutbacks in federal funding, increased oversight and compliance, and more demand for services due to aging baby boomers and increased technology costs, Harrington expects philanthropy to be about the only way to raise revenue to balance the equation. “It will be a train wreck,” he said.

You can watch the full interview in the video below.