Few gains, some slips

Sur­vey looks at per­for­mance of hos­pi­tal boards

Modern Healthcare - - COVER STORY - Melanie Evans

Abi­en­nial sur­vey of tax-ex­empt hos­pi­tal gov­er­nance found few gains in board per­for­mance and some ar­eas where di­rec­tors and trustees slid. The sur­vey, con­ducted ev­ery two years by the Gov­er­nance In­sti­tute, found com­pos­ite scores for per­for­mance on 95 mea­sures of rec­om­mended gov­er­nance prac­tices did not change or slipped com­pared with 2009, with two ex­cep­tions.

Com­pos­ite scores across nine cat­e­gories show no change or a slight de­cline from 2009, in­clud­ing over­sight of qual­ity, strat­egy and man­age­ment. Scores for fi­nan­cial over­sight and the duty to dis­close pos­si­ble con­flicts of in­ter­est showed im­prove­ment in the lat­est sur­vey.

Re­sults come at a time when hos­pi­tals are un­der in­creased fi­nan­cial pres­sure and scrutiny as states and fed­eral pol­i­cy­mak­ers grap­ple with bud­get dis­tress and ris­ing health­care spend­ing. In New York, ef­forts to re­duce Med­i­caid costs through a task force to rec­om­mend that the state health com­mis­sioner get the power to re­move hos­pi­tal board mem­bers.

The sur­vey re­sults un­der­score the chal­lenges hos­pi­tal gov­ern­ing boards face to­ward mak­ing per­for­mance gains, said Don Sey­mour, a health­care gov­er­nance con­sul­tant and pres­i­dent of Don Sey­mour & As­so­ci­ates. Sey­mour was among the gov­er­nance ex­perts to com­ment on the re­sults and rec­om­men­da­tions for a Gov­er­nance In­sti­tute re­port on the sur­vey.

Many boards have al­ready made sig­nif­i­cant gains in per­for­mance, mak­ing fur­ther gains more dif­fi­cult to come by, he said. Di­rec­tors and trustees also have in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult

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