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These are exciting and challenging times for board members of not-for-profit health care organizations. The main driver of this state of affairs is a field-wide transformation that promises to result in better quality, higher value, and population health improvement. Most board members see this as a positive move for their organization and community, since their missions often speak to the need to improve the health of the communities they serve.
Asset stewardship has long been a key board responsibility. As fiduciaries of a health care organization’s assets, governing boards are required to act in the best interest of the organization, ensuring that resources are used in a reasonable, appropriate and legally accountable way to meet community health care needs.
All state statutory and case law holds that directors of nonprofit, 501(c)(3), corporations must serve as stakeholder (owner) agents, acting in ways that protect and advance their interests. Legalities aside, this is the foundation of great governance. In order to fulfill this obligation, directors must discharge three legal fiduciary duties: loyalty, care and obedience.