Maximizing ASC Board Productivity With a View Towards an Alignment of Goals

The following article is written by Paul Skowron, senior vice president, operations, for Regent Surgical Health.

 

Unlike the congressional "super-committee" of November 2011 that deadlocked along political battle lines and accomplished nothing, Regent has been blessed to be involved with board members that generally move in the same direction. The goal is to generate profits and distributions to members while providing effective board stewardship. Each board member represents a coherent interest group that has clear priorities to pursue and feels constant pressure to pursue them. Yet no member or interest group has enough power to make headway on its own. To advance an agenda, each board member must negotiate with the others.

 

As the managing partner, Regent has a further responsibility to conduct effective and efficient board meetings, in an effort to move the ball down the field. Regent relies on and provides guidance to the administrator of each facility to structure an efficient board meeting. From here, the managing partner can direct traffic when necessary. In that regard, the following techniques will prove effective in maximizing ambulatory surgery center board productivity:

 

Meeting schedules. Whether the meetings are monthly or quarterly, select the same day and time for each meeting that best meets the needs of the members. This promotes regular attendance. Distribute the meeting dates for an entire year in advance. Early morning meetings are effective where possible due to the need of surgeons to leave on time and get to the next appointment or surgery, thus avoiding longwinded dissertations. Call or email each member one week in advance as a courtesy reminder.

 

Communicate agenda and prior minutes in advance. At least 1-3 days in advance, send the minutes from the prior meeting and the current agenda. Hospital partners especially expect advance notice of agenda items and a reminder of tasks to complete in order to provide time to develop or finalize a position on any material issues (e.g., valuation of shares, increase in debt financing for expansion).

 

Start on time. In order to respect the time of those members who do show up on time, it is important to start the meeting on time in the hope of finishing within the allotted time. When necessary, the agenda can be moved around if the missing member is responsible for reporting on an agenda topic or a vote is required of that member.

 

Avoid meetings within meetings. Be realistic about what can be accomplished within an hour. Do not attempt to convene a separate committee meeting or medical executive committee meeting within the confines of the board meeting. The results of those meetings should be presented to the board and/or signatures required should be presented with the proper documentation to support.

 

Directing traffic. It is usually easier for a managing partner rather than the administrator to truncate conversations or dissertations by impassioned members who feel strongly about their agenda item. Conclusions for the minutes must be drawn and the meeting must move on in order to address all the agenda items on time.

 

End on time. The best way to ensure future participation is to convey the expectation that meetings end on time.

 

I recall disparaging remarks by board members about other facilities that did not follow these disciplines. The doctors did not look forward to attending the board meetings and in fact looked for excuses not to attend, often blaming the administrator. Board members remember disorganized and poorly planned meetings more than well-organized meetings. To ensure well attended and productive meetings, follow these disciplines religiously.

 

Learn more about Regent Surgical Health.


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