Commissioners start search for new UMC board members

Clark County commissioners are planning to shake up the governance of University Medical Center, giving the public hospital its own board.

Commissioners on Wednesday directed staff and a consultant to start working toward that goal, with an eye toward having the new hospital governing board in place in December.

The governance of the hospital has been a decade-long issue with a history that includes a hospital advisory board that disbanded last year and a failed attempt to get a bill passed the state Legislature this year to change the hospital’s oversight structure. County officials have examined the issue with the goal of getting the hospital a board solely focused on the hospital.

“Everybody’s on the exactly same page in terms of what we need,” said Commissioner Steve Sisolak.

Under the plan endorsed Wednesday, County Manager Don Burnette and UMC Chief Executive Officer Brian Brannman will pick a nominating committee by Sept. 1 with input from a consultant, Larry Gage, founder and former president of the National Association of Public Hospitals.

“This is a pretty significant development in the future of UMC,” Burnette said in an interview.

That committee, in turn, will nominate to the commissioners a group of five to nine individuals to serve on the new hospital board. The goal is for the nomination to reach the County Commission by December.

The commissioners can only vote up or down on the whole slate of board members proposed and will be unable to vote separately on individual board members. That takes the politics out of the selection process, Sisolak said.

Also, the new board will have more authority to make final decisions and be smaller than the advisory committee, which had 11 members. All those factors should make it successful compared to the past advisory committee, Sisolak said.

UMC will remain a county hospital after the board is in place. Commissioners still will have some oversight, such as control of the budget.

The legislation for a new UMC board that failed would have allowed the board to discuss strategic planning behind closed doors for competitive reasons. Under this plan, the board will have to adhere to the state’s open meeting law, including when discussing its long-term strategies and planning.

The new board members will have staggered three-year terms.

Those who want to sit on the nominating committee or the hospital board can email their name, phone number and a resume to

Contact reporter Ben Botkin at or 702-405-9781.