On behalf the Hamilton County’s Legislative Delegation, Rep. Gerald McCormick and Senator Todd Gardenhire said Thursday they are sponsoring legislation which revises the governance structure of Erlanger Health System and the Chattanooga Hamilton County Hospital Authority.
They said discussions with the board, management, elected officials, physicians and other stakeholders on the matter "have been ongoing for nearly two years." The Authority was originally established by an Act of the Generai Assembly and adopted by Hamilton County in 1976.
"Erlanger is one of our region’s most valuable and criticaì assets. The size, scope, and mission of Erlanger and T.C. Thornpson ChìIdren’s Hospital have grown in the last 37 years, and how the Authority is governed at the board ievei must also evolve," said Rep. McCormick. "With novv over $500 million in assets and $500 rnillion in revenues, this is the next step in an ongoing process towards providing corporate oversight consistent with similar enterprises."
Senator Gardenhire said, "These changes are necessary to equip Erlanger to more effectìveiy compete in an intense and ever changing industry. This is certainly no reflection on the existing board, but recognition of marketplace realities given the corporate environment in which this pubíic entity must operate."
Key provisions include:
- A new Community Board of Trustees will be established consisting of nine members 'reflective of our community': Seven voting members, plus one non-voting representative of academia, and one non-voting physician member with current or past staff privileges at Erlanger
- The board will be self-perpetuating similar to most corporations and non-profit organizations. Upon the vacancy of any seat for any reason, the remaining board members will fill the vacancy by majority vote
- Except for the initiai voting members of the board and chair, appointments which will be
made jointly by the Hamiìton County Legislative Delegation in consultation with the Hamilton County Mayor, polìticai entities will not be responsible for appointing Trustees. The newly reconstituted board will then appoint the academic and physician members, with the physician member to be appointed after consultation with the Chattanooga & Hamìîton County Medical Society
~ Trustees will serve a three-year term, and no member may serve a totaì of more than three terms. Initial members of the board shafl serve staggered terms
- While the board may create other committees it deems necessary, audit and finance committees must be established
- The act removes provisions which are either unnecessary or addressed ín other statutes under state law
- The board is directed to adopt policies and procedures to ensure the Authority purchases goods and services at competitive prices, and avoid confîicts of interests among the board, management, and current or potential vendors
The legìslation is being prepared and will be formally introduced when the General Assembly
reconvenes on Monday, it was stated.
The bill comes as members of the current board are considering three finalists for president and CEO. Legislators have asked that the board hold off on that appointment.
Charlsetta Woodard-Thompson, interim president and CEO, told employees of the letter from the legislators and said, "As your President and CEO, I feel certain that the delegation has Erlanger's best interests at heart, and recognizes our vital role in this community.
"As we move through this transition, we will continue to provide the highest quality of patient care at Erlanger. I know I can count on our dedicated employees and physicians to focus on our mission, and maintain Erlanger's reputation as the region's number one hospital.
"I will keep you posted as future developments occur."