The American Hospital Association has implemented a policy change that significantly reduces the amount of AHA financial information that's immediately available to its members.
The Chicago-based association has replaced its annual 60-page treasurer's report, complete with audited financial statements, with a new one-page treasurer's report of the AHA's financial dealings. The new version of the treasurer's report doesn't include detailed, audited financial information.
For example, the new treasurer's report doesn't list total revenues from the AHA's core operations, the three companies under its for-profit subsidiary, American Hospital Association Services, the American Organization of Nurse Executives, another AHA subsidiary, or the Hospital Research and Educational Trust, an AHA affiliate.
The treasurer's report for fiscal 1993, released at the AHA's convention last year, disclosed that the association took a $9 million loss on the sale of its headquarters building. That sale subsequently fell through (Sept. 4, p. 2).
The association also sent the new treasurer's report to the approximately 200 members of its House of Delegates in June rather than releasing it to the delegates and other attendees of the AHA's annual summer convention in August, as was customary for years.
Richard Wade, the AHA's senior vice president for communications, said the policy change was implemented to reduce the amount of paperwork forwarded to AHA delegates during their stint in the association's highest policymaking body. He said a complete set of 1994 audited financial statements is available to members of the House of Delegates upon request.
"No one has complained," he said. "There hasn't been a rush of people asking for the audited financials."
Wade denied that the AHA is reducing the amount of public scrutiny of the association's financial operations. He said the association has the right to protect sensitive business information, and the AHA's audited financial statements have never been made available to the public or the press.
However, the AHA's audited financial statements historically were part of the association's annual treasurer's report released at the AHA's summer conventions. In addition to providing delegates with copies, the 60-page reports also were available in the AHA's press room at the meetings.
With the new policy change, the public, the press and anyone who's not a member of the AHA's House of Delegates no longer will have access to the association's audited financial statements. They will, though, have access to the new one-page treasurer's report.
The AHA released the one-page report to MODERN HEALTHCARE last week at the magazine's request. It reported the AHA generated a $1.2 million profit in 1994, not including a $4.7 million dividend from AHA Services.
The report is dated June 21. AHA executives had said that the association's audited financial statements weren't completed and wouldn't be available until long after the association's August convention in San Francisco.
Wade attributed the confusion to MODERN HEALTHCARE, which he said asked for audited financials rather than the treasurer's report.
He said the new treasurer's report was sent to AHA delegates in June because the House, under a recent change in bylaws, no longer meets en masse at the convention. Given the 1997 phase-out of the summer convention, the delegates, if necessary, conduct business electronically by telephone, teleconference or facsimile.
The new policy on the treasurer's report means the AHA differs with the American Medical Association, which releases audited financial statements to its House of Delegates and any interested party during its annual summer meeting in Chicago.