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  • Writer's pictureJeff Lewis

Do US Hospitals Have the Right Board Composition?

In “Healthcare Uncovered”, Episode 10, Eric Bricker, MD , indicated that 75% of hospital board seats across the US are occupied by nonclinical professionals and only 25% of board seats are occupied by clinicians (i.e., physicians, nurses). While I appreciate the value of other professions holding board seats, if these statistics are correct, this is incredibly lopsided.

In a hospital setting, physicians and nurses are the two clinical professions primarily responsible for either ordering and/or delivering healthcare services. It appears that our clinical professionals are not adequately represented at the board level. Having inadequate clinical representation on boards is likely contributing to ill-informed decision-making by boards and exacerbating healthcare woes in the US.

Dr. Bricker also referred to Bloomberg in terms of the financial impact, writing “…53% of hospitals were set to lose money in 2022 while almost all are coping with record job vacancies and sicker patients” His statements are further supported in a recent JAMA publication by Ge Bai and her co-authors, that physician owned hospitals have better profit margins and lower negotiated commercial rates and cash prices for consumers as compared to non-physician owned hospitals

What if boards had more representation from physicians, nurses, and other clinicians? How would that impact the decision making, patient care and financial performance? The Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic are two institutions moving in the right direction, from a physician representation perspective. Changing board requirements is no easy task but I think it is well worth considering because of the probable financial and clinical implications for the business. It is my hope that even a few key decision makers will read this blog and take it to heart.

About the author: Jeff Lewis is a registered nurse and independent consultant at NextGen Executive Consultants LLC, a nurse owned business. He provides advisory services to health systems and plans regarding transformational strategies in value-based population health management.


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