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As community leaders, trustees are a powerful voice for their hospitals or health systems when it comes to advocacy. They can offer legislators “real life” insights and perspectives into the challenges facing patients and community members in the hospital’s service area, as well as how legislation and regulation will affect the women and men who work every day to fulfill their hospitals promise of help, hope and healing.
With health reform comes increased demand for transparency about organizational performance and accountability. While most hospital and health system senior leaders realize this, board members, surprisingly, may not. As such, boards must have a clear understanding of their accountability to the organization’s stakeholders in order to govern effectively.
Our understanding of effective governance in hospitals and health systems is growing. Several recent studies find that meeting certain benchmarks for board structure, composition, culture and evaluation practices has become a basic governance responsibility. These studies also call for heightened board engagement in governance oversight responsibilities.
Maintaining the public trust a hospital and its board can only be effective if they maintain the trust of those the organization serves. According to the Center for Healthcare Governance and the Health Research & Educational Trust’s Blue Ribbon Panel on health care governance, maintaining the public trust is the board’s most important responsibility."
The hospital's board chair picks up the phone in his office at TriState Bank headquarters. The CEO’s voice on the other end of the line is stark and serious. “The medical executive committee just gave me a unanimous no confidence vote,” he says. “They’re complaining about closed communications and aloofness. And the Gazette called and wants to talk about my compensation."