Nonprofit & Trustee Boards: Any Side Effects From Health Care Act?

Nonprofit & Trustee Boards: Any Side Effects From Health Care Act?

By: Eugene Fram

Obviously the Supreme Court’s health care decision will have significant impacts on nonprofit and trustee boards of health related organizations.  However, like any large dose of medicine, the dose from the health care act will have kinetic effects on the cultures and operations of other types of nonprofit and trustee boards.  They can range from Animal shelters to Zoos.  Here are some, which I think are the most obvious.  

  • The movement towards evidence based organizational outcomes will accelerate.  For smaller organizations , knowing how to use imperfect metrics[i] will become critical. Boards and chief executives will need to agree on the outcomes to be measured, and the processes to measure them in order to drive change. Solo process evaluations will become passé.
  • All directors will need to become more accounting and financially literate.  Most will not be able to completely rely on the few who have this expertise.
  • The amount of minutiae on board agendas will decline.  Seriousness of oversight, policy, planning and visioning will pervade board cultures of non-health groups, for the organizations to survive. 
  • The IRS and will more closely examine the governance information from the Expanded 990 forms.  Guidelines for evaluating this qualitative information are being developed. Some are already available from speeches given by IRS officials. [ii]
  • Board recruiting will need to focus on persons who have the attitudes, professional skills and interpersonal skills to contribute in such a changing board environment.   Those persons who accept directorships/trusteeships in these challenging environments will find their contributions meaningful and interesting.

[i] Jerry Talley & Eugene Fram, (2010) “Using Imperfect Metrics Well: Tracking & Driving Change,” Leader-to-Leader Journal, January 52-58.

[ii] Eugene Fram with Vicki Brown (2011 Third Edition) “Policy vs. Paper Clips: How using the corporate model makes a nonprofit more efficient & effective,” pp. 92-95.

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