By Jamie Orlikoff and Mary K. Totten
Health care governance has entered a new era of heightened accountability, scrutiny and reform. This era imposes significant new burdens and challenges on boards and has raised the bar on what is required and expected of them. As a result, many boards are shifting their focus away from strategic leadership toward becoming compliant custodians.
At the same time, however, health care boards are being bombarded with strategic and leadership challenges. A board that focuses primarily on compliance and avoiding potential liability or embarrassment risks abrogating its responsibility for strategic leadership. Effective boards realize they must strike a balance between compliance (doing things right) and strategic leadership (doing the right things).
Further, they recognize that while governance structure and boards’ functions can be legislated, regulated or mandated, truly effective or exceptional board performance cannot. Exceptional governance must come from within each board. Effective boards realize that the quality of governance that was sufficient to get their organizations where they are today will be insufficient to get them where they need to be tomorrow.