The Impact of Leadership Style on Critical Access Hospital Outcomes

Open Access
Mcevoy, Valerie Amber
Area of Honors:
Health Policy and Administration
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Christopher Alan Calkins, Thesis Supervisor
  • Rhonda BeLue, Honors Advisor
  • Leadership
  • Critical Access Hospitals
  • Rural
  • Healthcare
  • Financial
  • Quality
  • DISC
Critical access hospitals (CAHs) are a unique category of rural hospitals with flat organizational structures. Prior research has shown that leadership style can affect organizational outcomes, but little research has been conducted to determine if this relationship exists in CAHs specifically. This thesis will attempt to address this gap in the literature and determine if leadership style has a significant impact on financial and quality measures in CAHs. This study analyzes the leadership styles of the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) at the 13 CAHs in Pennsylvania over a six year period (2007-2012) to determine if leadership style influences operating margin, days cash on hand, net days in accounts receivable, and readmission rates. Leadership styles were categorized using Bartell & Bartell, Ltd.’s DiSC Assessment. Data for the four measures of interest were collected from The Flex Monitoring Team’s reports on the Sheps Center website and the PA Health Care Cost Containment Council’s (PHC4) publicly available Hospital Performance Report. Once the data was collected and analyzed, I sought secondary validity by interviewing 3 key informants with varying levels of health care experience. The results showed no clear influence of leadership style over the four measures analyzed. Key informants attributed this lack of visible influence to the small size of CAHs, the limited availability of providers, and their tight-knit communities.