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Click here to subscribe to HRET Resources RSS feed 2009 Blue Ribbon Panel Report

- August 25, 2010

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Competency-Based Governance: A Foundation for Board and Organizational Effectiveness

Health care governance is at a crossroads.  As boards shift away from a focus on compliance and monitoring toward a value-added orientation, their work is migrating beyond an emphasis on operations and toward strategic and collaborative leadership.  At this juncture, several fundamental questions emerge that must be addressed to facilitate governance transformation.  These questions include:

  1. Are boards, as they exist and operate today, truly necessary for future success in health care?  Why?
  2. Has past health care governance added maximum value for health care organizations and their stakeholders?  If so, how, and if not, why not?
  3. If boards are to play an important future role, what changes to their structure, function, processes, and culture are necessary?
  4. What barriers exist that impede board effectiveness?

Funded by global specialty pharmaceutical and medication delivery company Hospira, Inc, the Blue Ribbon Panel on Trustee Core Competencies was convened in 2008 to build on the earlier panel’s work:

  • to identify individual board member core competencies common to different types of boards that can be used to improve board and organizational performance; and
  • to provide guidance and direction for the field in developing educational and other resources that can be used to apply these competencies to the work of hospital and health system governing boards.

Panel members drew on their own experiences and reviewed work done by others to develop board and leadership competencies for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. In addition to developing individual board member competencies, the panel also considered what makes a board an effective team and identified tools and resources to help boards begin to apply competencies to health care organization governance. This report also includes recommendations for boards, educators and researchers, and tools to carry the panel’s work forward to help the field better understand and practice competency-based governance.

Contact Deborah Bohr at for further details.

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