Doctors have a right to serve on hospital board
The issue of doctors serving on the Sierra View Hospital District board is not new. Doctors have served on the hospital board for years without problem. The question today, if the entire board or fourth-fifths of the board is made of doctors, what logistical problems might arise.
A doctor has served on the Sierra View board for the past couple of decades. Most of the time it was just one doctor, as it is today with Dr. Ashok Behl. It was Sierra View that got a state ruling in the 1990s that doctors can serve on hospital boards. That same ruling reaffirmed that employees of a hospital cannot serve on the board of directors. Doctors can have privileges at the hospital, but are not employees.
Many other hospital districts have doctors serving on their boards, including Kaweah Delta and Tulare District.
This November’s election has attracted quite a number of candidates for the three open positions, including the three incumbents.
Challenging incumbents Martha Flores, Brent Gill and Richard Hatfield are Drs. Rakesh Jindal, Gaurng Pandya and Jasvir Sidhu, along with Mark Fazzone.
Doctors do bring a unique perspective to the board and obviously insight into medical care that is needed in the community. However, there are conflicts that a doctor on the board will have to recluse themselves from both during the discussion and the vote and therein lies the potential problem. Should there be four doctors on the board after November, what will happen if all four have to step down on an issue? What will happen if there is less than a quorum to vote on an issue?
Now, that is not likely to occur, but it is a possibility.
So the issue is not whether a doctor can or should be on the board. The question is how many should be on the board at one time.
This is not an endorsement or non-endorsement of the doctors running, but potential conflicts will need to be considered by voters in November.