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Elected Boards No Way to Run a Hospital

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, March 31, 2011

When asked for a comment, current board chairman RoseMarie Reno, a nurse who served on the board more than 25 years, replied, "There's an old saying, 'one bad apple spoils the bunch.' The board is taking the blame for the actions of one board member."

Who knows whether anything will quell these soap opera-like sagas. But I thought Kazemek summarized it best:

"It's embarrassing. It's certainly not helpful, and is hurtful to the reputation of the hospital, which impacts donor giving and philanthropic support, which in turn affects morale and the medical staff, and causes physicians to start thinking maybe I should take patients to another hospital."

There are a lot of disruptive board members on dysfunctional boards in elected hospital districts in the U.S., he says.

"But this one seems to be in the upper decile. It's a shame."


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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2 comments on "Elected Boards No Way to Run a Hospital"


Kevin T Kavanagh, MD (4/6/2011 at 12:26 PM)
The primary fiduciary responsibilty of a non-profit hospital board is NOT to the facility but to charitable purponses and the public. According to Lois Lerner, Director of the IRS Exempt Organization Division, for hospitals: "To qualify for tax-exemption, they must show that they provide benefit to a class of people, broad enough to benefit the community, and they must be operated to serve a public rather than a private interest." Source: Statement by Lois Lerner, Director of the IRS Exempt Organizations Division, on the IRS Report on Nonprofit Hospitals, at a Press Briefing, Feb. 12, 2009 http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/lernerstatement_hospitalproject_021209.pdf

Linda O (3/31/2011 at 4:15 PM)
Unless the courts step in, there will be no process for self-governance and self-correction. It's a shame to place the patients and employees at risk.