Handing over the reins

Ivinson Memorial Hospital’s publicly elected District Board is in the process of handing over operational control and decision-making at the hospital to an appointed Board of Directors.

Though the 11-member Board of Directors will take over most of the responsibilities currently carried by the 7-member District Board, the elected trustees plan to remain involved in managing the hospital.

“I’ve got too many years in the hospital between the Foundation and (the board),” District Board Chair Guy Warpness said. “I still want to stay active.”

Trustees must remain active in monitoring the directors’ performance during required biannual meetings of the District Board, said Guy Warpness, that board’s chair. Because of this transition, the seven members might eventually shrink to five — a change the District Board is allowed to make.

“We realize there may not be the interest for our board since it’s not going to be as integral a part as it once was,” Warpness said. “So, there’s a possibility we may revert back to a five-member board.”

He added trustees wishing to remain active at the hospital will also likely serve on committees established by the Board of Directors.

“I’ve just been way too involved and I care too much about what’s going on at the hospital,” he said. “I’ve going to try my dangdest to get on another committee, wherever they feel I can provide the most amount of help and still be involved with the hospital.”

Additionally, three trustees — Treasurer Rick Melone, Secretary Catie Ballard and Trustee Dennis Cook — will serve at least a one-year term on the Board of Directors, helping to oversee the transition and provide continuity throughout the process. Melone, who currently chairs both the finance and investment committees, said he plans to help in a similar capacity on the Board of Directors.

“We have selected the eight new directors to serve on the (Board of Directors), we have not assigned them to committees or positions,” Melone said. “As of right now, we don’t know how things will filter out, so to speak, and who will serve in what capacities and what roles and for what terms.”

The transition between boards is part of a larger transition of hospital management from Albany County to a specifically created nonprofit organization.

Hospital leadership and members of the District Board said the transfer will allow for swifter decision-making and allow IMH to keep pace with a nationwide trend toward nonprofit hospital management.

“The District Board still oversees the performance of the hospital,” Melone said. “They have a duty to the community of Albany County. They will oversee, not on a month-to-month basis, but they will oversee the (Board of Directors). But they will still be actively involved in how the hospital performs, both from a quality health care standpoint as well as from a fiscal or financial standpoint.”

The Board of Directors will report to the District Board.

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