Navigating the Challenges of Physician Board Membership

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Due in large part to the increased affiliation between hospitals and physicians, some hospital boards are seeking additional physician representation. Many hospitals have determined that having physician board members is an effective physician-alignment strategy and gives the board a different, but much needed, perspective on clinical issues.

While increasing the number of physician board members can offer benefits because of their unique skills and perspective, the move is not without potential risk. Every board member has significant duties and obligations to the hospital, such as the loyalty, care, and good faith imposed on board members by applicable state corporate laws. Physician board members must understand the implications of these duties, and the fiduciary obligation each board member has to the hospital.

This means that a physician board member must always act in the best interest of the hospital. Oftentimes, these physicians are approached by other physicians to promote or represent the interests of the medical staff on various issues, creating a potential problem if the physician board member is not aware of their duties and obligations to the hospital.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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