4 Common Questions and Answers About Hospital Committees

What is the best size for a board committee? How often should it meet? What are the most common committees in hospitals? The American Hospital Association's Center for Healthcare Governance has answered these questions and more in its latest newsletter.

Committees assist the board by bringing reports and recommendations for board action. They only final decisions a committee may make are those for which the full board has granted authority to the committee.

"As health systems grow larger, more boards are delegating certain decisions to committees," according to the newsletter. Thus, it's critical for committees to keep the full board informed to avoid becoming a "board within a board."  

What are the most common committees?
A recent survey from the AHA's Center for Healthcare Governance found the following boards to be most prevalent:

• Finance — 83 percent
• Quality — 75 percent
• Executive — 68 percent
• Governance and nominating — 60 percent
• Audit and compliance — 51 percent
• Strategic planning — 44 percent
• Executive compensation — 36 percent
• Physician relations — 35 percent
• Fundraising/development — 18 percent
• Community benefit — 14 percent
• Government relations — 4 percent

What is the best committee size?
Most committees, especially those for audits, corporate compliance and executive compensation, work well with five to seven members. Committees that have broader responsibilities, such as finance and strategic planning, may be a bit larger and include more stakeholders.

How often should committees meet?
The frequency of committee meetings depends on the responsibility at hand and how often board meetings occur. For example, if the board meets 10 to 12 times per year, then the finance committee may meet monthly. Audit and compliance committees, though, may only need to meet twice per year.

There should be an annual meeting calendar that ensures each committee meets prior to quarterly board meetings with sufficient time to provide minutes and reports.

Should non-board members serve on committees?
Non-board members on a committee can be beneficial for several reasons, according to the newsletter. These include the addition of expertise not present on the board, engagement with potential future board members and broadened stakeholder input.

Bylaws and the committee charter should specify whether non-board members can vote. "Generally, if a committee is making recommendations to the full board, then all committee members may vote; if the committee is empowered by the board to take final action, however, then usually, only full board members vote," according to the newsletter.

More Articles on Hospital Governance:

Talent Management and Health System Performance: 16 Statistics
AHA's Population Health Partnership Checklist
Developing a Workforce Strategy for Patient-Centered Care: 6 Key Steps

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers