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Hospitals are important institutions in the communities in which they operate. Besides providing health care services to residents, they are also conduct research and provide employment. Hospital boards of directors oversee hospital operations and set policies that enable the institution to fulfill its business mission of service to local communities.
Each hospital is responsible for organizing its own administrative structure, including the board of directors. Board members may be elected or appointed by other administrators. A hospital;s board of directors typically includes doctors and other medical specialists, business administrators, legal professionals, community advocates, health educators and insurance professionals. Each member contributes expertise and a different perspective to hospital issues under discussion, such as allocation of funds, policies and community involvement.
Hospital board members and executives receive salaries from their regular occupations or retirement plans, but generally volunteer their time as board members. Handling board matters or attending board meetings may occupy part of a board member's day, but does not usually carry any additional compensation. For hospital administrators who also serve on boards of directors, the line between day-to-day duties and board of directors tasks is likely unclear. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time hospital administrators earn a median wage of around $87,000 as a job salary, with no additional compensation should they serve on boards of directors.
Other board members earn wages across a wide spectrum. Senior physicians who serve on hospital boards may make as much as $340,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (As with hospital administrators, this salary does not include service on the board of directors appointment). Other professionals earn lower wages based on their fields, levels of experience and employers. Retirees sometimes serve as directors, relying on their hospital pensions and Social Security income.
Hospital board of director seats are high-profile positions that bring members into contact with other hospital and community leaders. Administrators, educators and doctors who serve on boards gain experience that improves their chances of receiving additional appointments or job offers in the future. Board members also volunteer their time out of a sense of service. Their efforts help hospitals run smoothly and address issues in patient care and health care economics.
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