A recent survey found that most healthcare system and hospital chief executive officers believe their governing boards support their work, but a sizable minority said trustees' personal agendas and inappropriately sized boards made life more difficult.
Those are the key findings of a poll of 214 CEOs whose hospitals or systems participate in the San Diego-based Premier purchasing alliance, which includes 1,700 facilities nationwide.
The survey, released last week, was conducted by Oak Brook, Ill.-based executive recruiting firm Witt/Kieffer, Ford, Hadelman & Lloyd and Chicago-based governance consulting firm Orlikoff and Associates.
Altogether, 94.6% of the CEOs believe their board supports them, 86.6% said the board focuses on the mission at hand and 83.1% think the board acts decisively.
However, 23% of the respondents said personal agendas among trustees interfere with their work. Another 34% believe their board is too big or small for optimum performance.
According to the survey, the average board has 17 trustees, with the largest board totaling 66 seats. But the CEOs believed a 13-member board is the ideal size. Most governance experts believe boards larger than 18 to 20 members are too unwieldy.
The report concluded that boards will begin streamlining in the next decade, will seek adequate representation among physicians and women, will rely more on recruitment firms to find trustees and will hold fewer but longer meetings.