Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What Roger Williams Medical Center Must Do To Keep Its License: A Generalizable Framework for Governance of Troubled Hospitals?

The Providence Journal reported major changes in the works for Roger Williams Medical Center.

We have posted several times, most recently here, about the travails of the hospital, which is now operating under a federal deferred prosecution agreement, and whose former CEO has been indicted by a federal prosecutor.

The Rhode Island Health Department convened an extraordinary licensing hearing in which it proposed imposing unprecedented conditions on the hospital for it to maintain its license. These included, "requirements that Roger Williams invite a Health Department representative to all board meetings and file a monthly report. The hospital would also have to give advance notice to both the department and the state attorney general whenever it appoints a new trustee or a new senior administrator, whenever it changes the duties of a senior administrator, and whenever it changes a corporate document."

Of particular interest to me were additional conditions, those
would require Roger Williams Medical Center to hire a forensic auditor to review its finances and an expert in nonprofit corporate governance to recommend changes in the way the hospital is governed. Another condition would have the hospital study the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, an anticorruption law that applies to for-profit businesses, and adopt aspects of the law that are applicable to nonprofits.

Again, these might be part of a more generalizable framework to improve governance of other troubled hospitals and academic medical centers, and even hospitals and academic medical centers that are not troubled, at least outwardly.

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