Governing to Address Community Health Needs, Conflict Manager Featured in Summer 2012 Issue of Great Boards

The summer 2012 issue of Great Boards is now available at and features these two articles:

Governing to Address Community Health Needs: Deepening Board Engagement – Hospitals have long engaged in assessing community health needs and documenting their community benefit activities. However, new pressures and requirements, including expanded reporting through the IRS Form 990 Schedule H and more recent mandates included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, are compelling boards to become more knowledgeable about and engaged with their hospital’s community benefit efforts.

This heightened focus on hospital community benefit and community health needs assessment in particular is requiring boards to more fully integrate oversight for these activities into their governance structures. This article looks at four hospitals and health systems from around the country (Dignity Health; Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, Whittier, Calif.; Lancaster General Health, Lancaster, Penn.; and Good Samaritan Hospital, Kearney, Neb.) and what they’re currently doing through their governance structure, practices and board engagement with the community to address their community’s health needs.

For example, Dignity Health has revised its board orientation manual to include a comprehensive description of the organization’s community health commitment, policies and programs and provides questions boards can ask about hospital community health and benefit activities. Good Samaritan Hospital works with a community coalition of other health care providers and leaders from area businesses, government, schools, churches and civic groups to assess, prioritize and address community health needs.

Conflict Manager: The Board Chair’s Unsung Role – An important, yet seldom discussed role of a board chair is conflict management. This commentary by Barry Bader says the most common sources of conflict involving the board chair are related to doctors, trustees, the CEO, and the community. Bader describes conflict management as part art, part science and suggests five ideas on how leaders can best resolve conflicts. He also discusses the board chair succession planning process and steps on how to select a new chair.

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