JHC Revamps By-Law & Governance Structure

New Bylaws Offer Expanded Voting Privileges for Members

When Jersey Health Connect was forming in 2011, it included a small set of original hospitals and health systems referred to as “Founding Members”. Since that time, JHC membership has grown substantially, while at the same time the health system landscape in New Jersey has witnessed significant consolidation and merger activity. As a result, one of the growing challenges facing JHC was to ensure that all of its hospital and health system members would have appropriate participation in JHC’s governance – beyond that of just the Founding Members.

The JHC Board of Trustees explored various bylaw changes – engaging input from legal counsel and membership. The goal was to seek out a new structure whereby all hospital members would possess voting representation, shifting away from the old structure where only Founding Members were granted voting privileges. The new structure would also need to take into account the substantial investment that larger health systems (with multiple hospitals) make to participate in JHC.

To that end, the Jersey Health Connect Board of Trustees recently approved significant changes to the organization’s Bylaws, thereby expanding voting privileges and representation. The changes include:

  • All contributing hospital members (paying membership fees) will have at least one Trustee and one vote.
  • Health Systems, which have multiple hospitals paying and contributing, will have an additional Trustee and an additional vote (for every three hospitals the health system has, beyond the first hospital). This format enables a second vote with the 4th hospital, a third vote with the 7th hospital, and so forth.
  • The new Bylaws also make provisions for a seat for a community member, and a seat for a physician member.

“We are confident the new governance structure will better represent our membership and also better position JHC for addressing the many challenges that lie ahead,” said Judy Comitto, JHC Board Chair.

Committee Structure Changes Focus on Core Needs & Issues

As part of the governance structure refinements, the JHC Board also reviewed its committee structure to ensure it was consistent with the expanding HIE agenda of its growing membership.

While the Executive, Finance, Regulatory & Governance, Communications/Outreach, and Nominating Committees continue unchanged from their initial charters, there is no longer an Evaluation Committee, which had the initial charter of assessing Meaningful Use compliance progress. In its place, a Clinical Advisory Committee was established, with the charge to evaluate appropriate clinical use of data.

Over the past year, JHC has also implemented several sub-committees as provided for in the Bylaws. Specifically, it has charged the Population Health Task Force, reporting to the Clinical Advisory Committee, with developing means to leverage the significant data that JHC has at its disposal to further population health initiatives. Likewise JHC has charged the Standards Task Force, which reports to the Technology Committee, with identifying opportunities to standardize processes or data sets among JHC’s members to better improve data quality and data availability.

Finally, the Patient Identity Task Force, also reporting to the Technology Committee, has been working towards the goal of one patient, one record, so that our clinicians have ready access to the clinical information they need, when they need it.

As always, if you want to participate on one of the JHC Committees or Sub-Committees, please do not hesitate to contact Micki Foglia at micki.foglia@jerseyhealthconnect.org.