Boomerang file photo

Ivinson Memorial Hospital’s District Board — a publicly elected body of seven people responsible for the finances and operation of the hospital — will hand over most of its responsibilities to a Board of Directors on Jan. 1.

At the District Board’s September meeting, it approved 11 people from a wide range of backgrounds to staff the second board.

“(The District Board is) going to turn over all the operational control and decision-making to the new Board of Directors, who will then work with the new CEO and the staff to help set the strategic course and the policies of the hospital going forward,” Trustee Dennis Cook said.

Approving the directors is the latest step in IMH’s transition to a nonprofit. The District Board is planning to lease hospital facilities and their management to a specially formed nonprofit organization, headed by the Board of Directors.

The Albany County Commission approved the lease in July.

District Board members said the lease mirrors similar transfers across the country and will allow for more more nimble hospital leadership. Whereas the District Board’s meetings had to be publicized and public, the nonprofit organization’s appointed Board of Directors will not have these restrictions.

Cook said the new board — with its emphasis on including different backgrounds — would include more women and more health care professionals than the District Board, which includes only one woman and one doctor.

“I think it has a wonderful chance of having a diverse group and I’m looking forward to see how it comes out.”

In addition to health care, directors come from educational, business, finance, ethics and compliance and social service backgrounds.

“We compiled a fairly good list of people — probably over 30, maybe 35, folks — that had some experience or some connection with health care and community things,” Cook said. “And then we also created a grid of skills that we wanted to bring on to the board.”

The Board of Directors also includes three District Board members — Treasurer Rick Melone, Secretary Catie Ballard and Cook — to help in the transition process.

“We thought … a whole new group of 11 people would be kind of wide-eyed as a tree full of owls,” Cook said. “The idea was to bring some current board experience to the new board and our bylaws limited the number of people we could bring over to three.”

The 11 members are tasked with implementing staggered three-year terms. Some of the original members will serve one- and two-year terms, starting 2018, to make this happen.

Cook said directors are limited to three consecutive three-year terms.

“We don’t want it to get stale,” he said.

Cook said most members of the District Board wanted to have a hand in the new board and will take part in its four committees: audit and compliance, finance, governance and community benefit and equality and safety.

The committees will be chaired by directors, but also include — in addition to interested District Board members — hospital administrators such as the CEO, chief nursing officer or chief medical officer and members of the public.

“We left room to invite three community members to be voting members of the committees,” Cook said.

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