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Hospital Board Education

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A recent study of Hospital Boards found:

Board Roles and Responsibilities Need To Be Clarified
Hospitals need to place additional emphasis on creating job descriptions for board members, communicating expectations prior to appointments, and conducting orientation of new members, to ensure that all board members fully understand their role and their relationship to hospital executives and staff.

Orientation for New Members Is Often Lacking
There was little agreement that the respondents’ hospitals had a well developed orientation process that could provide the necessary background for new board members, that ongoing education was based on needs, or that all members participated in ongoing development. The majority of executives do not agree that their boards have an orientation for new members (63.1%), that development is based on identified needs (61.8%), that all members participate (80.7%), or that members engage in annual self-assessment (69.9%).

Planning and Governance Top Training Needs
The top three topics selected by board chairs were board governance responsibilities (38%), legislative concerns (37%) and strategic planning (37%). The top three topics chosen by CEOs were strategic planning (49%), board governance responsibilities (47%) and third-party reimbursement issues (36%).

Board Membership Requirements Are Often Undefined
Few chairs or CEOs reported that board members are selected or removed based on defined criteria.  Only 13.5% of executives strongly agreed that their hospital has defined criteria for selecting board members, and only 3% strongly agreed that there was an effective process for removing a member. Of concern, 17 of 95 board chairs (18%) and 39 of 209 CEOs (19%) did not answer the question, “How many members does your board have?”

Board Members May Not Understand Their Responsibilities
While 75% of chairs agreed or strongly agreed that “board members clearly understand their role,” only 59% of CEOs held this opinion (p = 0.02). Only 27.1% of CEOs strongly agreed that board member responsibilities are clearly defined, and only 30.4% strongly agreed that these responsibilities are in writing.


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