Low turnover, more diversity among hospital boards, AHA report finds

In recent years, some progress has been made in terms of racial/ethnic diversity and gender diversity on hospital and health system boards, according to a report released Jan. 19 from the American Hospital Association. However, the report also found a growing number of older board members and low board turnover. 

The report, which was shared with Becker's, is based on survey data from 933 hospital and health system CEOs between November 2021 and March 2022. 

For the report, researchers examined data about board membership, structure and practices, and examined findings by system, system subsidiary hospital and freestanding hospital boards, the AHA said. The group's 2022 report also examines diversity, equity and inclusion as well as board practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Six findings:

1. Nearly all survey respondents (91 percent) reported interest in identifying and engaging board candidates who represent diverse characteristics.

2. In 2022, survey respondents reported 36 percent of their board members were female, compared with 30 percent in 2018, 28 percent in 2014 and 2011, and 23 percent in 2005.

3. In 2022, survey respondents reported a higher percentage of board members age 71 or older (18 percent), compared to 12 percent in 2018 and 10 percent in 2014.

4. At the same time, 2022 survey respondents reported a lower percentage of boards with members age 50 or younger (19 percent), compared to 22 percent in 2018 and 21 percent in 2014.

5. More than 75 percent of 2022 survey respondents reported not replacing board members during their terms or continuing to reappoint them when eligible during the past three years.

6. The AHA wrote in the report, "As the pandemic transitions to the endemic phase, every board should be aware of national and regional CEO retention and turnover trends. Not surprisingly, healthcare CEO retirement  announcements in 2022 are ubiquitous and the  executive search industry predicts continuing high levels of CEO turnover. These market realities make it imperative for boards to double down on CEO succession planning and associated internal executive development."

For more information on accessing the full report, click here.

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