Featured image

Governing Boards In Healthcare

Healthcare governance enables the delivery of safe, quality care in a fiscally responsible way. The role of governance in healthcare is to provide a framework that accounts for the processes of governing organizations and businesses. A healthcare governance definition includes a system through which healthcare organizations are accountable and continuously improve service quality. Defining what is hospital governance consists of the following: hospital governance involves the safeguarding of high standards in care through creating an environment that fosters excellence in clinical care.

Governance in healthcare is essential. Governing boards have three primary roles: establishing policies, making strategic decisions, and overseeing the healthcare organization’s activity. Healthcare is complex and challenging and needs various types of leadership structures, including governing boards. Governing boards in healthcare include a chairman of the board, trustees, a company secretary, general counsel, treasurer, CEO, or Dean of Medicine. Other board members may include the company president, upper management, and sub-committees.

Governing policies define the focus and different responsibilities among the board, management, and medical staff. Well-written, clear policies are imperative to ensure efficient board functioning. Governing boards in healthcare have numerous responsibilities, such as overseeing management, finances, and quality. Boards must set strategic direction, build community relationships, establish ethical standards and values and maintain compliance. In addition, governing boards are responsible for selecting a CEO and monitoring the CEO’s progress.

The roles and responsibilities of healthcare governing boards are, in many ways, the same as other various types of corporate boards. The differences involve the need for governing boards to ensure the healthcare organization is meeting its fiduciary duty to shareholders. For example, maintaining trust with shareholders on every level while providing patients the best possible quality of care requires strict adherence to governance protocols and procedures. Therefore, maintaining accountability to all parties involved requires balance and discipline overseen by a strong hospital governance system.

Duties And Responsibilities Of Governing Board In Hospital

Understanding the roles and responsibilities of governing boards in healthcare is imperative. Medical staff, management, and board members must understand the role of governance and what embodies effective governance. Effective governance is vital for hospital management to succeed; it assists the healthcare organization by being efficient, respectfully working through conflicts of ideas, is simple, straightforward, and focused. Good governance leads to quality healthcare for patients and fiscal responsibility for the organization and shareholders. 

What are the 5 major positions held in hospital governance? Chairman, CEO, Vice Chairman, Executive committee, and operational managers.

The 10 basic responsibilities of board members include: 

  • determining the mission and purpose of the organization
  • selecting an executive director
  • providing financial oversight
  • ensuring adequate resources
  • ensuring the legal and ethical integrity of the organization
  • effective organizational planning
  • Recruiting and training new board members
  • Enhancing public opinion of the organization
  • Management of the organization’s programs and services
  • Supporting the CEO in addition to assessing their performance

When each board member, management staff, and everyone involved at every level of an organization understands what is expected of them, the organization will run much more smoothly. Bylaws and board policy outline the roles and responsibilities for each board position. Board officers and board members all have different roles and responsibilities that must be explained in the bylaws and policy in order for the board to govern effectively and efficiently. Efficiency is essential as board members are not paid for their time. An inefficient board may suffer from members terminating their service.

Hospital boards are critical for the overall operation of a healthcare facility. Hospitals risk compliance issues, quality of service issues without proper governance, and many other issues that affect care and shareholders. Therefore, it is imperative to have a well-established board filled with qualified people. Maintaining a qualified board relies on each board member recruiting and training new members.

Healthcare Board Positions

A board of directors exists to provide organizational structure to corporations and other entities. Healthcare board positions are filled with members who give collective expertise offering valuable insight into all aspects of running a healthcare organization. Healthcare board positions are the same as board positions for nonprofit or other corporate entities. Hospital board positions are not paid board positions. Board of directors position descriptions is crucial for board members to understand what is expected of them.

Hospital board of directors positions include:

  • Chairman of the Board
  • Board of Trustees
  • Company Secretary
  • General Counsel
  • Treasurer
  • CEO or Dean of Medicine
  • Hospital President
  • Hospital Upper Management

Hospital boards are typically composed of local community representatives such as lawyers, business leaders, government and private sector leaders, physicians, nurses, and other members of the community with an interest and concern for healthcare. A search for board of directors positions near me may result in numerous posts for organizations looking for qualified board members. Those wondering how to get on a hospital board of directors may first consider their own experience and professional background and then contact the hospital to submit an official inquiry and resume. Another way to find a board of directors position is through networking. Current board members are responsible for recruiting qualified candidates. Meeting community members through networking events, fundraisers, and other professional functions is an excellent way to express interest and submit your name for consideration.

Serving on a board is a valuable experience. Serving can help you increase your business network, add to your resume and allow you to apply your expertise in a helpful way. Board experience can be valuable in your career advancement and other areas of life. Serving on a board is also a rewarding way to volunteer your time to a worthy cause. To find a board position, you can take a proactive approach, openly express your desire to commit your service to a board, and look for opportunities posted. For example, when attending professional networking events, mention your desire to serve on a board of directors and ask colleagues to pass your name to organizations you would like to serve.

What Are The Three Components Of The Governance Structure?

Clinical governance in healthcare is similar to but different from governance of other corporate entities. It is imperative to understand what is the role of governance in healthcare and why it is important. The hospital governance structure includes the following three components:

  • The Board
  • The Chief Medical Staff
  • Departmental Heads

In addition to these three components, there are 5 major positions held in hospital governance. This includes the Chairman, CEO, Vice Chairman, Executive committee, and operational managers.

The importance of leadership and governance in healthcare is paramount and consists of corporate and clinical governance. The board is responsible for corporate governance. The chief medical staff and departmental heads are responsible for clinical governance. The hospital governance structure is set up to empower all levels of governance to work together to improve patient care, operate in a fiscally responsible way, and satisfy all shareholders. Explaining what is the difference between corporate governance and clinical governance is essential to understanding governance in public health. 

Corporate governance focuses on business performance, legal compliance, regulations, and ethical responsibilities. Whereas, clinical governance implements all patient care processes, providing a framework to ensure care is safely provided at the highest quality possible.

Who Sits On A Hospital Board

Hospital boards are typically composed of local community representatives such as lawyers, business leaders, government leaders, physicians, nurses, and other qualified members of the community. Board positions include a chairman, trustees, company secretary, general counsel, treasurer, Dean of medicine, hospital president, and other hospital upper management personnel. Governance roles and responsibilities are clearly defined to help the board run efficiently and effectively.

Understanding the hospital board of directors responsibilities and who sits on a hospital board is critical for a community and those working in healthcare. Traditionally hospital board of directors positions are filled by high-level hospital executives such as the Chief Executive Officer CEO and Chief Financial Officer CFO as well as other professionals with a financial background. Physicians serve in about one-fifth of the seats on a board. With this traditional model, other clinical staff, such as nurses, are vastly underrepresented. However, due to changes in quality metric requirements for insurance reimbursements, highly educated nursing staff may find hospital boards seeking their service regarding clinical matters. A well-rounded board that represents all levels of hospital operations will serve hospitals well ongoing.

Solutions for
Board Members

We know that what happens after a meeting is also critical. Keep post-meeting momentum going with a centralized hub your team can access before, during, and after meetings to promote autonomy and collaboration.


Join The Sounding Board!

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest trends & insights from the Boardable community.