What Every Healthcare Board Member Should Know

By Ben Assad Mirza, Esq., LLM, MPHA

Healthcare reform and enhanced regulatory matters are making healthcare more complicated and challenging for board members than ever before. Hospitals have varying types of leadership structures, depending on their size and whether they are private, for-profit entities or nonprofit hospitals. Overall, hospital care is changing from volume-based care to value-based care, which means that boards of members need to make key changes in their objectives and strategic goals while maintaining financial sustainability for the hospital and quality of care for their patients.

What are the Board Members’ Roles?

In brief, we can break down the board’s role into three primary roles as following:

1) The role of Policymaking: Well-written policies lead to more efficient board functioning,well-written policies define focus and differentiate responsibilities among the board, the management, and the medical staff. It is important for boards to review their policies every year to make sure they’re still effective and continually updated.

2) The Role of Decision-Making: Boards make decisions about issues that are strategic and significant, such as whether to enter an affiliation agreement with another organization. Decision making involves making choices about the organization’s vision, mission, and strategies, such as whether to enter an affiliation agreement with another organization. As decision makers, they can also delegate non-governance types of decisions to others.

3) The Role of Oversight: Boards should ensure that every decision would reflect the organization devotion to quality and ensuring that management has all the proper mechanisms in place to provide the assurance of quality within the scope of the organization. Boards should also have plans in place to monitor implementation of policies.

What are the Board Members’ Responsibilities?

Responsibilities: Boards oversee management, finances, and quality; set strategic direction; build community relationships; establish ethical standards, values, and compliance; and select a CEO and monitor his or her progress. Boards are called to consider elements in the environment such as growing competition and changing patterns of care and develop strategic thrusts, goals, and tactics that respond to the environment, all the while showing the organization’s values.

 Most susceptible risks facing Board Members:

The bigger the responsibility the bigger the risks that come with it. The following are some of the potential risks that you might face as a board member:

  1. a) Operational Risk: Workplace safety, infection control, equipment, etc.
  2. b) Human Capital Risk: Employment practices, vetting, terminations, shifts, etc.
  3. c) Strategic Risk: Reimbursement, competition, alliances, and affiliations, etc.
  4. d) Legal & Regulatory Risk: Compliance, AKS and Stark Laws
  5. e) Technological Risk: Electronic health records, robotic surgery, bar coding, failing to implement technology
  6. f) Hazard and General: Storms, fire, aging infrastructure

Overall, no matter what skills, talents, and expertise an individual brings to their board, there’s always room for improvement.

Learn more about the business side of medicine. Join us on Tuesday, February 21, 2023 at 6:30 pm for “Board Member Orientation – Leadership and Survival” webinar. Signup at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZElf-GsqD4iHdD0hJCE7Ts1RpPI_Xj6D89k. Hosted by South Florida Hospital News and Healthcare Report

If you have any questions, contact Ben Mirza, Mirza|Healthcare Law Partners, at call/text (954) 445-5503 or email BAM@MirzaHealthLaw.com.