For boards to participate in shaping their new organization, they must be currently performing at an extremely high level. The following is a list of four practices that hospital and health system boards must be engaged in today, in order to be successful in the future.
1. Define a Clear Mission and Vision for a Transformed Enterprise
Hospital and health system boards should consider the organization’s vision for improvement of the community’s health, as well as approaches to address population health and manage risk in light of today’s transforming health care delivery and payment systems. This is not the hospital’s responsibility in isolation, but rather an opportunity for hospitals to build relationships and partnerships in the community to impact the overall health of the community. Hospital CEOs and boards must agree upon and clearly articulate the extent of the responsibility and engagement of the organization in community and population health.
While the commitment and responsibility will vary among organizations and communities, it is essential that hospitals do not let changes in payment models drive the mission and vision of their health care system. Payment reform is occurring in varying degrees across the United States. In the longterm the transition may help hospitals and health systems to more effectively support health in addition to health care. However, as hospitals progress through the transition, it is imperative that the board and CEO work together to agree upon the degree to which they can achieve the Triple Aim given evolving payment constraints.
The absence of payment reform and financial incentives should not prevent hospitals and health systems from doing the right thing for patients and communities or from contemplating their mission and vision with respect to their community needs, cost sustainability and articulation of a strategy that embraces all facets of the Triple Aim. The board’s responsibility for serving the mission and vision must remain steadfast during this transitional period.