Forward-looking boards of directors critical to rural hospitals' health

Too many rural hospital boards of directors "focus on things in the rear-view mirror," such as looking at the last quarter's financials rather than long-term changes in the field of healthcare, the CEO of a small Indiana critical access hospital told Hospital & Health Networks.

Boards that aren't able to look five or 10 years down the road ultimately put their hospitals at risk, Tim Putnam, CEO of Margaret Mary Health in Batesville, Indiana, said in a video interview during the American Hospital Association's Rural Healthcare Leadership Summit. With the typical rural hospital CEO only staying in place for about three years, it's important that boards provide continuity through forward-looking leadership, he said.

Margaret Mary Health performs a large volume of surgeries and offers advanced services including radiation oncology. It stays on the forward edge of healthcare with participation in an accountable care organization and a Medicare shared service plan, by transitioning from volume- to value-based payment and creating market-driven health programs, he said.

In the past, Putnam has advocated for including local people, such as farmers, on boards because they have experience adapting to changes in government payment systems. Other rural health advocates suggest looking for experts in areas such as patient safety and process improvement to join boards of directors, as FierceHealthcare has reported.

To learn more:
- watch the interview