HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

Health Care Leader Burnout

Posted on | September 8, 2006 | No Comments

When you try to align external and internal health care forces with this much change in the air, burnout becomes the enemy.

On the surface, that appears to be what is behind the unannounced but imminent resignation of Mark McClellan, M.D. By all accounts, the fact that Medicare Part D has held together as much as it has is largely a function of Dr. McClellan’s skill and determination. This is especially notable when one considers that his interest in the HHS post was left unrealized by an administration that realized the critical nature of the Part D undertaking. But there’s a price to be paid, and, usually, it is loss of human capital.

It’s happening elsewhere around the world, too. WHO director-general Lee Jong Wook was lost when he died from an unexpected stroke. Richard Feachem, director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, will step down in a few months from his post of four years. And the SVP of Human Health Development at the World Bank is currently unoccupied.

The total budget of the last three slots is $8.6 billion in loans and credits. So money, at the end of the day, may not be the ultimate issue. Rather, it is more likely to be whether there is enough mature and stable leadership in place, for long enough, to assure that the financial assets are applied in an efficient, effective, and sustainable manner.

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