“There are so many men who can figure costs, and so few who can measure values.” ~Author Unknown
The anonymous quote may make a good epitaph for the Bath County Board of Directors and their CEO, Jason Paret, when everything is said and done.
Right about now, somewhere in Richmond, Virginia, there’s several lawyers sitting around the polished oak and mahogany conference table collectively doing a face-palm about the comments one of their clients have made.
The cause for this moment of embarrassment? Another idiotic statement by one of the members of the BCH Board: (I’m paraphrasing here)
“The hospital will have to pick up the cost of defending itself against this lawsuit.”
This latest bit of disinformation was put into the rumor mill in reaction to a lawsuit filed by Dr. Jim Redington who was basically fired, wrongfully, by the hospital board and CEO roughly two months ago.
NOTE TO SELF: Send a memo to the BCH Board of Directors reminding them that while many residents of Bath County were born at night, it wasn’t last night.
The local newspaper, The Recorder, has done a great job of covering the unfolding soap opera and the entire story can be read there.
There’s a good possibility that the majority of the board, along with the CEO, will be replaced once this pissing contest is over and the dust settles. The hospital could be looking for new board members, and there’s some things potential board members should keep in mind before stepping-up to the plate.
Now for the Lie — Insurance
For the board member to spread the word that Bath Community Hospital will have to absorb the costs of a lawsuit is, well, a lie.
Non-profit organizations are required to have insurance in place. General liability, property, auto and product/service/malpractice are not only required by law for non-profits the size of Bath Community Hospital, it’s also smart business sense.
One form of insurance, Directors and Officers, is not as well known as auto and liability. But it’s one the BCH board has and they know they have.
Directors and Officers, or “D&O,” covers the legal costs and fees stemming from the fraud or mismanagement on the part of the board of directors and hospital officers. D&O insurance will cover the cost of defending the directors and officers and pay any resulting money damages. The most common claim filed against directors and officers of non-profits like Bath Community Hospital are employment-related and physician-related contract claims.
Some Questions You Need Answers To
Serving on the Board of Directors for a non-profit shouldn’t be taken lightly. Board members should pay attention and be willing to make some difficult decisions. What should a person look for as they conduct their “due diligence” before making a decision that could affect them in terms of money, time and, yes, reputation?
Who is on The Board and How Did They Get there?
Learn about the skills and experience of current board members. This one thing will give you some insight into the strengths — and weaknesses — of the current board. Find out just how BCH gets its board members. Are they friends of the CEO? Is there a nominating committee that tries to balance the skills which board members bring with them? Do the board members have to be elected or approved by the organization’s membership?
How Long to the Board Members Serve?
Some boards have very long terms — even as long as five years. Can you be sure you’ll be able to serve that long? On the other hand, if the term is extremely short, say two years, is that enough time to make a difference?
What Committees Does the Board Have?
Normally, boards of directors have several committees such as audit, programming, fundraising, nominating and public relations. Be sure to try to get assigned to the committee that will most interest you and best match your skills. If you’re a bean-counter you won’t be interested in the PR committee for long.
Can You See the Books?
A non-profit’s tax return and financial statements are collectively called “the 990” and it has to be made available to the public. If the organization is hesitant about showing you the financial information, consider that a red flag. An excellent source of information about specific non-profits, including Bath Community Hospital, is available online at Guidestar. Much of the information is free.
Is the Organization Being Sued?
Being sued or named in a lawsuit is not necessarily a reason to run from the opportunity to serve on the board. But make sure you understand any lawsuits. A non-profit which is on the receiving end of a lawsuit tends to indicate that the board has been operating outside the scope of its authority and has gotten itself into trouble.