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Find out more about health care governance on the Great Boards and Center for Healthcare Governance websites.

Best Practices for Board Education and Governance of Provider–Sponsored Health Plans (PSHPs) Featured in Fall 2015 Issue of Great Boards

The fall 2015 issue of AHA’s Great Boards newsletter is now available and features articles on best practices for board education and governance of Provider–Sponsored Health Plans (PSHPs).

In her article “Board Education: Raising the Bar,” author Pamela R. Knecht, president and CEO of ACCORD Limited reviews challenges to effective board education and the components of solid structures and plans for delivering top-notch board education experiences. She includes tools to help boards develop annual education activities and a list of “hot topics” for governance education.

Authors Phil Kamp and R. Todd Stockard of Valence Health, in their article “Today’s Provider-Sponsored Health Plans: What Boards Need to Know,” discuss the benefits and governance practices of PSHPs. They also address topics for board education and pose questions boards should ask to expand their knowledge of PSHPs and better assess whether developing one could be an effective strategy for their organization.

Summer 2015 Issue of Great Boards Explores How to Implement Best Practices; Assess/Develop Effective Board Culture

The summer 2015 issue of AHA’s Great Boards newsletter is now available and includes a feature article on how the board of a small critical access health care organization used its Governance Committee to implement best governance practices, as well as an article exploring a process for assessing and developing effective board culture.

In “Best Governance Practices: Not Just for Goliaths,” author Mary K. Totten profiles how Margaret Mary Health, a 25-bed critical access hospital and health system in Batesville, Ind., is shattering the myth that only large boards can practice state-of-the-art governance. The article discusses Margaret Mary’s journey and includes a list of six best practices now used by the organization’s board.

In “Effective Board Culture: The Last Frontier,” author Pamela R. Knecht, president and CEO of ACCORD LTD, looks at the challenges boards face in developing an effective culture. She discusses the importance of conducting an assessment and focusing on a few key markers of governance culture that will help the board understand its current culture and identify possible issues for discussion.

Two new tools have been added to the Great Boards website. The first is a Digital Health Transformation Framework tool for understanding the movement toward digitally-enabled health care, courtesy of Maestro Strategies, LLC. The second is a sample board chair evaluation.

AHA’s National Governance Survey and Characteristics of High-Performing Boards Featured in Spring 2015 Issue of Great Boards

The spring 2015 issue of Great Boards is now available and features articles on the results of AHA’s national governance survey and characteristics of high-performing boards.

In “Survey Results Show Health Care Governance in Transition,” author and Great Boards managing editor Mary K. Totten discusses findings from AHA’s 2014 National Health Care Governance Survey, based on responses from 1,078 CEOs and 710 board chairs. The article focuses on a wide range of board practices and activities and provides an update on governance issues and trends since the last survey in 2011. This article also suggests how boards can use survey results to reflect on their own governance practices.

In her article “Reaching for the Stars,” author Pamela R. Knecht, president and CEO of ACCORD LTD, outlines five categories of characteristics shared by the highest performing boards. She also discusses the importance these boards place on holding themselves accountable for engaging in practices that help them maintain high levels of performance in each category.

One new tool has been added to the Great Boards website. Developed in collaboration among the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors, the American Health Lawyers Association, the Health Care Compliance Association, and the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Practical Guidance for Health Care Boards on Compliance Oversight” provides tips for Boards as they work to better understand and execute oversight of their organizations’ compliance with State and Federal health care laws.

Winter 2014 Issue of Great Boards Discusses Incentive Compensation Plans for Executives and Aligning Governance and Business Models

The winter 2014 issue of Great Boards is now available and features articles on incentive compensation plans for executives and aligning governance and business models.

In “Transforming Executive Incentive Compensation,” author Jose A. Pagoaga discusses why health care governing boards should review and evaluate incentive compensation plans for executives and how health care organizations can adapt their annual incentive plans to current market conditions. This article also discusses how long-term incentive plans can be structured to help organizations achieve transformational strategies and goals.

Understanding how governance is structured and functions in various business models can help boards best align their governance with the business model it is designed to support, says Pam Knecht in her article, “Aligning Governance and Business Models to Achieve the Best Fit.” She discusses different models now being adopted by health care systems and the importance of aligning governance structure with an organization’s overarching strategic direction and mission.

One new tool has been added to the Great Boards website. Referenced in the Trustee Workbook from January’s Trustee magazine, this tool, developed by Betsy Chapin Taylor, president of Accordant Philanthropy, aims to help hospital boards and leaders identify initiatives that have donor appeal and match the organization’s strategic priorities.

Medicare Penalties for Hospital Errors and Developing a Shared Governance Model Featured in Fall 2014 Issue of Great Boards

The fall 2014 issue of Great Boards is now available and features articles on avoiding new Medicare penalties for hospital errors and how boards can develop a shared governance model.

In “A $330 Million Risk: What Boards Should Know About New Medicare Penalties for Hospital Errors,” author Rodney F. Hochman, MD, describes how Medicare’s new penalty program works, the drivers of quality, safety, and costs at organizations, and the role boards can play in reducing the risk of incurring such financial penalties.

Health care boards need to evolve beyond their traditional fiduciary and core governance responsibilities to encompass a more strategic and global view, says Pam Knecht in her article, “The Shared Governance Imperative.” She discusses how boards and management need to move to a new model of shared governance with the ultimate goal of creating a culture of engagement to drive organization success.

Two new resources have been added to the Great Boards website. The first resource, which is referenced in the October Center Voices column in Trustee magazine, is a list of questions board members should ask when considering a super clinically integrated network opportunity. The second is a sample audit and compliance committee charter, provided courtesy of ACCORD, LIMITED, a governance and strategic planning consulting firm based in Chicago, IL.

Summer 2014 Issue of Great Boards Examines How Boards Can Add Value as Their Systems Develop/Evolve; Steps Boards Can Take to Achieve Exceptional Governance

The summer 2014 issue of Great Boards is now available and features articles on how boards can add value as their systems develop and evolve, and steps boards can take to excel and achieve exceptional governance.

In “Governance in Developing Systems: How Boards Add Value,” author Mary K. Totten interviews Casey Nolan, managing director of Navigant Consulting’s Healthcare Provider Strategy Practice, on how boards function, the challenges they face at each stage of system development, and what board members need to know to govern effectively and add value as their systems evolve.

In his final regularly contributed piece for Great Boards, governance consultant Barry Bader looks at how governing boards can add tangible value to their organizations. In “Board Development: A Marathon Not a Sprint,” Bader profiles New England Baptist Hospital and their multi-year board development process. He details the board’s five-year board development plan, which includes seven areas of focus with specific goals for each.

Two new resources for health plan boards have been added to the Great Boards website—a sample board meeting agenda and a sample board meeting evaluation, both courtesy of Presbyterian Health Plan, part of Presbyterian Healthcare Services, an integrated, nonprofit system of hospitals, a health plan and a medical group located in Albuquerque, N.M. The sample agenda was referenced in “Inside Two Worlds,” the June 2014 Center Voices column from Trustee magazine.

Developing Strategies for Uncertain Times Featured in the Spring 2014 Issue of Great Boards

The spring 2014 issue of Great Boards is now available with a feature article on developing strategies for uncertain times.

In “Strategic Governance Practices for Turbulent Times,” governance consultant Barry Bader explores the changing dynamics of health care and practices boards can use to manage and minimize strategic risks associated with the uncertainty ahead. These practices include recruiting strategic competencies to the board, learning from the past, developing new metrics, and maintaining strategic focus. He also describes four techniques boards can employ to ensure sufficient time is allocated to strategic matters. They are:

  • Having a regular board meeting agenda item devoted to one or two important strategic issues.
  • Forming a board committee to specifically consider future-oriented issues for eventual board consideration.
  • Planning board education at meetings and retreats around strategic matters.
  • Framing board discussions around “true” strategic questions.

Bader notes that hesitating can be costly and a board’s role is not merely to discuss but to act — decisively, prudently and promptly based on the best information it has.

Winter 2013 Issue of Great Boards Exams Issues Executive Compensation Committees Should Address to Proactively Manage Risk

The winter 2013 issue of Great Boards is now available and features articles on recommended agenda items for a board’s executive compensation committee and considerations for boards when selecting their next board chair.

In “Agenda for the Executive Compensation Committee: A Guide for Minimizing Regulatory and Reputational Risk,” contributing author Timothy J. Cotter, Managing Director, Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, discusses 10 issues executive compensation committees should be addressing to proactively manage risk in the current environment. Governance expert Barry Bader, in his commentary “Choosing a Board Chair Amid Health Care Transformation,” discusses the rapid pace of change in health care organizations and six considerations boards should take into account when choosing their next board chair.

Determining peer groups for setting executive compensation, a key agenda item cited in Timothy J. Cotter’s article in the winter 2013 Great Boards, is discussed in more detail in a new article now available on the Great Boards website. In “Balancing Act: The Compensation Committee’s Role in Peer Group Selection,” authors Bruce Greenblatt, Michelle Johnson and Sally LaFond of Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, discuss key considerations for appropriately selecting peer groups. They also provide a decision tree against which board Executive Compensation Committees can compare their processes and learn more about best practices.

A new tool has been added to the Great Boards website—a case example of how a health care organization board can begin transforming its practices to govern more effectively in times of transformational change. Using the AHA’s Center for Healthcare Governance study, Governance Practices in an Era of Health Care Transfor­mationthe case example illustrates how a board can identify governance practices critical to future success and determine steps to implement them.

Board Oversight of Physician Engagement and Considerations and Strategies for Board Downsizing Featured in Fall 2013 Issue of Great Boards

The fall 2013 issue of Great Boards is now available and features articles on board oversight of physician engagement and considerations and strategies for board downsizing.

In “When Strategy Informs Structure,” author Mary Totten looks at Mercy Health’s 25-year journey toward physician integration, beginning as a hospital organization ‘loosely affiliated’ with physicians around selected activities to its current regional hospital-clinic organization structure — a journey which changed the structure of the organization and the system board.

A commentary piece from governance experts Barry S. Bader and Pamela R. Knecht focuses on eight practices boards can implement to undertake a successful downsizing initiative. These include recognizing downsizing is a change process and developing a compelling case for change.

In addition, two new tools have been added to the Great Boards website. The first is a model policy statement on nonprofit health system board accountability. The tool comes from a recent Center for Healthcare Governance monograph titled, “The Evolving Accountability of Nonprofit Health System Boards,” authored by Lawrence Prybil, PhD, F. Kenneth Ackerman, Jr., FACHE, Douglas A. Hastings, and John G. King, FACHE. The monograph contains a broader discussion on accountability and how nonprofit health system boards can demonstrate it. The second new tool is a sample board and committee meeting calendar courtesy of Pamela R. Knecht, president and CEO of ACCORD LIMITED.

Summer 2013 Issue of Great Boards Features Articles on Board Committees and Practices for Enhancing Their Effectiveness

The summer 2013 issue of Great Boards is now available and features articles on board committees and practices for enhancing their effectiveness.

In “A Unique Approach to Assessing Board Committee Effectiveness,” Mary Totten reviews the process and outcomes from a board committee assessment conducted by the Internal Audit Services function at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc./Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. The article also provides eight suggestions for boards interested in successfully adopting this practice.

Improving board committee structure and function is the focus of a piece by governance consultants Barry S. Bader and Pamela R. Knecht. Topics they discuss include committee size, composition, information and reports, performance assessment, system-subsidiary board committees and more.

In addition, three new tools have been added to the Great Boards website. Two are from Sierra Vista Regional Health Center – a quarterly mentor feedback form and a board orientation form. The last is a tool from Board Effect on board portal preparedness. This tool will help your board decide which portal is right for you by providing you with important decision-making resources.