The board development committee may wish to reconsider its director education program for 2017 following two recent and unrelated developments. The first is a greater articulation of expectations of such programming generally. The second is the likelihood of significant change to health care policy in general, and to the health industry financing model in particular, under the Trump Administration.
The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) recently established a standard for director education within a proprietary “Director Education Framework.” The goal of the NACD effort is to tie core responsibilities of the board to key areas of director competency that are considered critical to a director’s ability to properly respond to his/her fiduciary obligations. Primary topics identified by NACD for focused education include (i) board governance, structure and function; (ii) ongoing board responsibilities and activities; (iii) constituent considerations; and (iv) emerging issues.
The most urgent focus of board education programming should likely be to provide the full board, as well as certain of its key committees, with a series of briefings on the health policy implications of the recent elections, as they are currently understood. The board’s familiarity with such implications will help position it to exercise informed oversight and decision making, and to fully engage with management on health policy-prompted issues and opportunities. Such a briefing, which management can provide, could address the following issues, among others: the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act; the potential for Medicaid expansion and reform; the potential for Medicare reform; the future of alternative payment models under MACRA and otherwise; and the possibility of program payment cuts under traditional Medicare that could negatively impact revenues. Indeed, possible changes to the broader health care legal and regulatory environment under the Trump Administration would be an additional and highly useful topic for focused director education programming.