Erlanger's board faces overhaul if conflict of interest bill becomes law

Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Erlanger Health System may have to upend its board of trustees if a bill targeting ties between governing bodies and public hospitals is signed into Tennessee law, according to the Times Free Press.

The bill, which passed the state's Senate and is moving through its House, aims to protect consumers who live near a county or publicly owned hospital. It would prevent hospital authority trustees and former trustees from signing an employment agreement with an authority until at least 12 months after the trustee's tenure of service on the board. The bill would not affect private or nonprofit hospitals.

The Times Free Press reviewed a list of current and former trustees from Erlanger to see if anyone would be affected by the bill. A hospital spokesperson told the publication "it would be premature for Erlanger to speculate who this bill impacts at this point."

After reviewing conflict of interest disclosures trustees have to complete, the Times Free Press found current physician board members could have to choose between ending any financial ties with Erlanger or staying on the 11-member board.

Erangler's Board Chairman Mike Griffin told the publication having physicians on the board is "a tremendous asset." He added, "I am hopeful that the bill, in its final form, will not impact physician participation on Erlanger's board."

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