Mountain View Voice

News - January 13, 2012

Hospital board to expand by summer

by Nick Veronin

The board of directors for El Camino Hospital plans to expand by three members this summer, officials said.

According to a Jan. 9 press release, the six-member board is looking to appoint three new members with "expertise in finance, quality measures and health care policy."

Besides the new board members, hospital officials are also seeking 15 community members to join six board committees. The hospital aims to name appointees to these positions by June 30.

"As the complexity of the health care environment continues to evolve, it is important that we prepare our organization to best meet the imminent yet unknown challenges ahead," John Zoglin, the board's chairman, said in a statement, explaining the reasoning behind the move to expand the board and form the community committees. "The hospital and the community will stand to gain from the additional expertise placed on our board and committees."

In an email, El Camino spokeswoman Chris Ernst added, "An expanded board will mean an expanded range of knowledge and experience for all members to draw upon when conducting the business of governing the hospital."

To find qualified candidates for the three new board positions, the hospital turned to Russell Reynolds, the same executive search firm that sought out Tomi Ryba, the hospital's newly appointed president and CEO.

Kary Lynch, a longtime hospital employee, said he wasn't entirely opposed to the board's expansion, though he was not happy with the fact that the new board members would be appointed.

"I'm very upset about that," he said. "I think they should expand by having the voters elect representatives, rather than them appointing representatives."

He also expressed concern that the new committees would end up decreasing transparency at the hospital, as he assumes more important decisions will be made in committee meetings — instead of at board meetings — away from public scrutiny.

The six new board committees will include: a corporate compliance, privacy and auditing committee; a governance committee; a quality, patient care and patient experience committee; a finance committee; an investment subcommittee; and an executive compensation committee.

"We will be looking for individuals with experience, whether in a career, as a volunteer or from relevant experience in his or her background, who will best fit the work these committees will be doing," Ernst wrote.

The new board members and committee members, just like the current board members, will be unpaid volunteers, Ernst said.

"The proposed expansion of the board and the addition of committee members from the community is considered a best practice in the important role that boards play in the governance of a vital community asset such as a hospital," Ernst wrote.

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