Advisory governing board OK'd for UMC

Clark County commissioners on Tuesday approved an ordinance that will give University Medical Center an advisory governing board.

The 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Tom Collins opposed, allows the public hospital to go forward with plans for picking members of the hospital’s first board. The county’s timeline is to submit a slate of a five to nine board members to commissioners in December for approval. From there, the new board could start meeting in January.

The decision represents another chapter in the county’s efforts to oversee the public hospital, which is losing money. Other past ventures include an advisory board that disbanded and a failed attempt at legislation to allow a board.

The county realized that it could legally form a board. Commissioners still will retain an oversight role, with duties such as approving the budget, which the new board will recommend. However, the new board is charged with approving the policies and contracts for the hospital.

Commissioners spent time reworking some of the language in the ordinance, including a portion that suggested the new body would approve collective bargaining agreements.

The makeup of the new board can be flexible, though the ordinance does recognize that different professions, including business management, law, finance and medical and health professions are an asset. The new board members aren’t required to have those backgrounds and the goal is for the board to have a diverse membership.

The new board must adhere to the state open meeting law, with public meetings.

Consultant Larry Gage told officials that the county’s steps fall in line with a national trend of public county hospitals having separate designated boards.

The county is still accepting applications from potential board members. The new board members will serve staggered terms of one to three years. Commissioners will make future appointments to three-year terms.

After the meeting, Collins said he would have preferred to see the changes brought back in writing two weeks later for a vote to aid the transparency of the process.

Contact reporter Ben Botkin at bbotkin@reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Follow him on Twitter @BenBotkin1.