Serving as a trustee is not an easy task, given the tumultuous transformation now under way in healthcare. What in the past was largely a predictable role performed by local business and civic leaders now has assumed a rough-and-tumble flavor.
Clashes often seem inevitable when they involve the future of resources that are widely viewed as community treasures. For example, conflict recently erupted over a plan by Eastern Mercy Health System to consolidate its authority and boost its negotiating position in affiliation discussions with other Catholic systems. The 23-member board of Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., balked. "They wanted us to turn over financial control and tens of millions of dollars of assets we raised in the community," said Fred Milsaps, a 25-year veteran trustee who was ousted with the other members of the board. A new board was chosen and quickly approved the affiliation plan, but the ousted trustees have sued for control.
Disagreements also have developed between communities and trustees in Cookeville, Tenn., and Winsted, Conn., over strategies for making ailing hospitals well again.
Sometimes, trustees are even called upon to run the place. James M. Anderson, board chairman and longtime board member at Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, will become the institution's next president and chief executive officer, following the retirement of current chief William K. Schubert.
Citizens can be remarkably selfless in taking on the sometimes thankless task of trusteeship. That's why MODERN HEALTHCARE*is pleased to again recognize those who further the cause of governance by conducting our 1997 Trustee of the Year competition. This year's contest has expanded beyond hospitals to include all healthcare organizations. As in the past, we will honor two trustees: one from an organization with fewer than 200 beds or annual revenues of less than $25 million, and one from an organization with more than 200 beds or revenues of more than $25 million.
This year the contest has a new co-sponsor: The Governance Institute, a La Jolla, Calif.-based organization that provides information services to trustees, management and physicians of healthcare organizations. The Governance Institute is led by Charles Ewell, James Rice and Laura Walker.
Letters of nomination should be confined to five pages. Nominations should outline the candidate's accomplishments as a trustee and should emphasize recent and specific achievements. Entry forms should be mailed with the nominating letter to Trustee of the Year Committee, Modern Healthcare Editorial Department, 740 N. Rush St., Chicago, Ill., 60611. Entries must be postmarked on or before Oct. 28.
Stories about the winners will run in the Jan. 20, 1997, issue.