UBC Theses and Dissertations
Hospital governance in British Columbia Azad, Pamela Ann
This study examined hospital governance in British Columbia. Considered to be one of the most important issues facing the health care industry today, hospital governance is nevertheless an ill-defined and poorly understood concept. Foundational and exploratory in nature, the study’s primary objectives were: a) to define hospital governance within the context of British Columbia; b) to examine the structural and functional relationships among key participants; c) to investigate decision-making responsibilities; d) to investigate what, if any, variations exist in the governance of acute care, long term care, and specialized care hospitals; and e) to explore the critical issues which face hospital governance today and in the future under New Directions policy initiatives. All hospitals (N=107) in the province were studied, with the exception of diagnostic treatment centers, private for-profit facilities, military, and federal institutions. Utilizing documentary examination, survey administration, and interview techniques, the study included hospital chief executive officers (N=106), hospital board members (N=735), hospital board chairs (N=106), and selected high ranking senior officials from the Ministry of Health who had direct responsibility for hospital activities (N=15). Results of the study provide for in-depth demographic board profiles, and show that hospital governance is similarly defined across all hospital categories as “a complex relationship of overlapping structures and activities which has the responsibility and the authority to oversee the organization’s operation and to ensure its commitment of providing optimum health care to its residents.” The study identifies the key participants of hospital governance and delineates sixteen activities considered to be under the hospital board’s domain. Seven issues are identified as being critical for hospital governance in the future. Although there was general agreement as to the individuals most often responsible for recommending and implementing activities brought before the board, there were considerable perceptual differences between participants as to who possesses final decision-making responsibility. Data results consistently demonstrated important differences in responses between the hospital and Ministry populations. The study shows that overall, the participants of hospital governance are generally satisfied with the traditional roles and structures of hospital boards and are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with New Directions policy initiatives. This study further suggests that due to the discrepancies in priorities, perceptions, and ideologies of the hospital and Ministry populations, hospital governance is in a highly volatile and transitive state.
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