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Accountability For Health Care Board Members Is Critical

Why Is Board Accountability Important in the Nonprofit Healthcare Industry?


Your community depends on healthcare services to keep everyone healthy and well, which is why accountability is so important in the healthcare industry.

Your CEO and other senior-level staff take care of the day-to-day activities of your organization, while the role of a healthcare board of directors lies in oversight. Healthcare boards are also accountable for setting the long-term direction of the organization and ensuring sustainability.

Essentially, a healthcare board’s role is to act as the governing body of the organization. In the interest of good governance and the health of the organizations they lead, board members need to make sure they’re covering all their bases and holding each other accountable.

To that end, we’re highlighting the following areas of accountability for nonprofit healthcare boards:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Hiring and Monitoring the CEO
  • Ensuring Quality of Care for Patients
  • Financial Oversight
  • Accountability to the Community
  • Board Education and Development

The Importance of Healthcare Board Accountability

Providing reliable, high-quality care to your patients is central to your healthcare organization’s mission. One of the primary challenges healthcare boards faces is aligning their resources to ensure effective healthcare services while containing costs.

Accountability for healthcare boards also entails holding the CEO and other leadership staff accountable for their actions and decisions. Boards that are aligned and engaged support their leaders.

Together, boards and healthcare leaders demonstrate their commitment to healthcare by ensuring the healthcare services are:

  • Safe
  • Affordable
  • Confidential
  • Quality
  • Effective
  • Patient-centered
  • Timely
  • Designed to address the health of the population being served

Areas of Responsibility and Accountability for Healthcare Boards

We’ve broken down the areas of a healthcare board’s responsibilities into several categories. The following information will make for an informative board discussion about ensuring accountability.

Strategic Planning

Without the benefit of strategic planning, your healthcare organization lacks a road map for where it needs to go and how to get there. Your board is accountable for annual strategic planning for the short term, as well as the long term.

Hiring and Monitoring the CEO

Your CEO is on the front lines every day, making important decisions about how your healthcare organization runs. While your CEO is accountable for his or her decisions, your board is accountable for hiring a qualified individual to fill the position, setting compensation, and monitoring that person’s performance on an ongoing basis. Your board is also responsible for answering the CEO’s questions and standing as support for the position.

The board is also responsible for writing a detailed job description for the CEO position and setting realistic expectations in keeping with the hospital’s strategic goals. The board should evaluate the CEO’s performance based on the CEO’s designated goals and expectations. Furthermore, the board is accountable for developing a viable succession planning process for the CEO position to ensure strong, continual leadership.

Part of the CEO’s responsibility is to hire and reappoint service providers. The board can support this function and demonstrate accountability by maintaining close communication with the CEO.

Ensuring Quality of Care for Patients

Another of the CEO’s duties is to ensure that all employees have the proper healthcare licenses and certifications to comply with laws and regulations. This includes double-checking employees’ credentials and ensuring they don’t have a history of disciplinary actions against them.

CEOs must also check to ensure that doctors and other healthcare professionals have current and appropriate malpractice insurance and valid board certifications. The board is accountable for overseeing the medical staff credentialing process.

Financial Oversight

When it comes to your healthcare organization’s budget and finances, your board is responsible for overseeing the entire scope of the organization’s financial well-being. Proper oversight requires boards to review how the organization uses its resources and to ensure that resources are being used wisely.

In recent years, payment models for healthcare organizations have changed drastically, and it’s critical for boards to stay current with healthcare insurance trends.

In the interest of accountability, boards should convene regularly to review financial goals. Regular reviews will allow the board to revise unrealistic goals or reallocate funds as necessary.

Accountability to the Community

Healthcare organizations are staples in every community, and your board members have a responsibility to help your community thrive. Healthcare boards should be willing to partner with their communities so that their organizations help the community and vice versa.

One way boards can demonstrate accountability is to stay in the loop with industry news and best practices, and ensure their services are community-driven.

Overall, healthcare board accountability makes a lasting impact on the state of your community members’ health and well-being.

Board Education and Development

The board is responsible for ensuring that all board members are qualified to lead the organization and willing to actively participate in board activities. The level of accountability extends to board member orientation, which should include continuing board member education in governance and healthcare topics.

How a Board Management System Supports Accountability in Healthcare

In all of your healthcare organization board’s endeavors, a board management system supports accountability in the healthcare industry.

If the accountability in any area of your healthcare board ever comes into question, you’ll need to produce documentation to prove that you covered your bases. A board management system can be a lifesaver in such a situation.

BoardEffect offers unlimited cloud-based storage with state-of-the-art security, which is the perfect solution for storing your meeting agendas, meeting minutes, founding documents, unanimous consents and any other important documents. Board members can access these documents any time they need them.

With BoardEffect, your board will also be able to quickly and easily set up online board meeting handbooks, create an online board calendar and collaborate securely at any time. In fact, BoardEffect greatly assists your accountability efforts by supporting your board development cycle, meeting cycle and annual cycle. The online survey tool is your best choice for completing your annual board self-evaluations to demonstrate your commitment to board education.

A BoardEffect board management system is the key to organizing all board programs and activities to ensure strong accountability for healthcare boards. It’s yet another way to demonstrate your commitment to accountability and sound leadership.

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