All manner of medical practitioners have had their scruples dissected ad infinitum. In spite of the attention paid to medical ethics and bioethics, little has been paid to the ethical roles and responsibilities of those who are ultimately in charge of hospital governance: hospital trustees. Deriving from a Hastings Center research project involving meetings with a national task force of experts and extensive interviews with 98 nonprofit hospital trustees and CEOs over a two-year period, The Ethics of Hospital Trustees shows that the decisions made by these often overlooked members of the health community do raise important ethical issues, and that ethical dimensions of trustee service should be more explicitly recognized and discussed. Practical as well as theoretical, The Ethics of Hospital Trustees uncovers four basic principles: 1. Fidelity to mission; 2. Service to patients; 3. Service to the community; and 4. Institutional stewardship.
In delineating the extremely important functions of hospital trustees, from patient safety to financial responsibility, the contributors outline not only how hospital trustees do perform-they give a fresh understanding to how they should perform as well.
Introduction: A Framework for the Ethics of TrusteeshipBruce Jennings, Bradford H. Gray, Virginia A. Sharpe, and Alan R. Fleischman Part I: Hospital Trusteeship in Legal and Social Context 1. The Trustee's Dilemma: Hospitals as Benevolence or Business - Looking Back a CenturyElizabeth Robilotti and David Rosner 2. The Legal Responsibilities of Voluntary Hospital TrusteesJ. David Seay 3. Hospital Trusteeship in an Era of Institutional Transition: What Can We Learn from Governance Research?Jeffrey A. Alexander 4. The Role of Hospitals in the CommunityRomana Hasnain-Wynia, Frances S. Margolin, and Mary A. Pittman 5. The Role of Trustees and the Ethics of Trusteeship: Findings from an Empirical StudyBradford H. Gray and Linda Weiss Part II: Ethical Perspectives 6. The Trustees of Nonprofit Hospitals: Dealing with Money, Mission, and MedicineWilliam F. May 7. Trustees and the Moral Identity of the HospitalDavid H. Smith 8. Trusteeship as RepresentationBruce Jennings 9. Ethical Dimensions of Trusteeship on the Boards of Catholic Hospitals and SystemsCharles J. Dougherty Part III: Trusteeship in Practice: Decisions and Systems10. Hospital Partnering, Sale and For-Profit Conversions: Trustees' Responsibility and Perceptions in a Time of ChangeLinda Weiss and Bradford H. Gray 11. Fitting Board Information to Board FunctionAnthony R. Kovner 12. What Hospital Trustees Can Learn From Ethics Committees: An Essay on Pragmatism, Ethics, and the Governance of Health Care OrganizationsJoseph J. Fins 13. Patient Safety and the Role of Hospital BoardsVirginia A. Sharpe
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