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NACHC TA Department

WELCOME HEALTH CENTER BOARD MEMBERS

The Board Education Video Series is a resource to strengthen governance of health centers that receive federal grant support from the Health Center Program. The governing board of a health center provides leadership and guidance in support of the health center's mission and is legally responsible for ensuring that the health center is operating in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations.

Each short video – or vignette -- presents a unique “story” related to the board’s work. The vignettes are intended to generate discussion among board members about their work and the questions raised in the videos or the guide. The vignettes are not intended to demonstrate a “best practice” on how to govern a health center. Although this Series may be useful for new board members as they seek to understand some of their responsibilities, it is targeted for all board members for discussing as a governing “unit.” In the discussion, experienced board members are essential to identify challenges the center and board have faced in the past and to propose realistic action steps the board can take to improve, including effective oversight and planning, collaboration with the CEO on their different but mutually interdependent roles, and respect among all board members to listen to patients and each other to ensure access to high-quality, patient-centered services.

This Series currently has five “Modules” that each focus on a question related to health center governance. Each “Module” includes short video vignettes (approximately 5-6 minutes each) and a discussion guide. Because the videos are short, boards are encouraged to view and discuss a different vignette at board meetings throughout the year. The discussion guide includes suggested discussion questions and resources, but health centers are encouraged to include other relevant questions and additional state or local resources. The goal of the video and board discussion is to strengthen health center governance by supporting board members’ understanding of:

  • The relationship between their health center’s mission and requirements of the Health Center Program;

  • Their responsibility to ask questions and monitor information about the center’s performance, including progress in achieving the organization’s goals and objectives, it’s financial stability, and the center’s compliance with Health Center Program requirements; and

  • Their role to work with staff to identify improvements and to support change based on patient and community needs.

Suggested On-Site Support

A “champion” -- assures that vignettes and discussion of the Board Education Video Series are periodically on the board meeting agenda, identifies a facilitator, arranges for audio-visual equipment at board meetings, and assures that board members have discussion guides to review before viewing the videos.

A facilitator -- promotes discussion of each vignette after the board watches the video and encourages comments and discussion from all board members to hear multiple perspectives. The facilitator may be the Board Chair, the CEO, or possibly a staff person from the state’s/region’s primary care association.

A discussion recorder (perhaps the board’s secretary) -- notes discussion highlights and issues to follow-up or discuss in committees or at future board meetings.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE HEALTH CENTERS PROGRAM

The following is a brief summary with links for more information about the Health Center Program:

The Health Center Model – America’s Health Centers owe their existence to a number of determined community health and civil rights activists who fought more than 40 years ago to improve the lives of Americans living in deep poverty and in desperate need of health care. Community empowerment is a hallmark of health centers as well as the patient-majority governing board whose job is to assure the health center stays in tune with the people served. See: What is a Health Center and the Importance of Community Governance.

Federal Health Center Grant Support – Congress established the Community and Migrant Health Center Program in 1975 under the law Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. Today, the Health Center Program receives more than $2 billion in federal grant support for Community, Migrant, Residents of Public Housing, and Homeless Health Programs. See Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act (42 USCS § 254b) Authorizing Legislation of the Health Center Program

Governing Board Requirements
– Health center boards have fiduciary responsibilities the same as for boards of any private, non-profit organization. But in addition, health center boards have responsibilities related to serving on the board of an organization that receives a grant from the Federal Health Center Program. See: Health Center Governance

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) – HRSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, provides leadership and financial support to health care providers in every state and U.S. territory to provide services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. See: Health Resources and Services Administration.

Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC) – BPHC is the bureau within HRSA that funds and has oversight for grantees of the Health Center Program. See: Bureau of Primary Health Care. HRSA/BPHC has established Program Requirements that help guide health centers and ensure consistency amongst health centers across the nation. See: Health Center Program Requirements.

Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4 Module 5
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Copyright © 2011 National Association of Community Health Centers. All rights reserved.
This publication was supported by Grant/Cooperative Agreement No. U30CS16089 from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Bureau of Primary Health Care (HRSA/BPHC). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the of­ficial views of HRSA/BPHC.