SOURCE: ECG Management Consultants, Inc.

May 04, 2006 05:55 ET

ECG Management Consultants, Inc., Releases Health System Governance Structure and Practices Survey Findings

Survey Evaluates Trends in Governance Philosophy, Board Structure, and System/Subsidiary Relationship

SEATTLE, WA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- May 4, 2006 -- ECG Management Consultants Inc., a national healthcare consulting firm, today announced the release of its national Health System Governance Structure and Practices Survey.

ECG's survey analyzes and reports information from 11 health systems, including 8 of the country's 40 largest health systems by total revenue. It represents over 300 hospitals and health facilities headquartered in 8 different states. The survey, a first of its kind, includes critical topic areas such as governance philosophy, board structure, system/subsidiary relationships, committees, and evaluation processes. This information, coupled with ECG's interpretation of important trends, enables survey participants to assess their governance structures relative to best practices and other major health systems.

General findings in the survey include:

-- Health system boards are streamlining membership and are shrinking in size to 13 to 15 members.

-- More boards are becoming actively involved in organizational strategy and are dedicating more time to these types of discussions.

-- The use of board committees is waning, and power and responsibility are migrating back to the board.

-- The nature of the system/subsidiary relationship is highly variable and is frequently driven by the history and organization of the system.

"We have seen a lack of current information regarding governance, particularly for multilevel health systems," said Kevin M. Kennedy, Principal, ECG. "The information in this survey is unique due to the organizational complexity of these large health systems. It has also been interesting to note the variable degree of compliance with governance best practices -- 90% of respondents have substantially complied with Sarbanes-Oxley legislation, yet just over a quarter utilize executive sessions. This seems to indicate that many health systems have substantial opportunities to improve their governance."

About ECG:

ECG is a national firm that provides a broad range of management and information technology-related consulting services to healthcare providers. ECG is particularly known for specialized expertise regarding hospital and physician relationships, strategic and business planning, information technology, and the complexities of the academic healthcare enterprise. ECG has approximately 60 consultants and offices in Seattle; Boston; Washington, D.C.; San Diego; and St. Louis. To download more information about this survey, visit surveys.ecgmc.com.

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