AHA Releases 2019 National Survey on Governance Structure

WASHINGTON (May 29, 2019) – The American Hospital Association today released the 2019 National Heath Care Governance Survey Report, a comprehensive look at hospital and health system governance structures and practices, with a focus on board of directors’ composition, oversight, culture and structure and support.

Like the 2014 survey, this report examines findings across all respondents and by system, subsidiary hospital and freestanding hospital board types. The report also includes commentary on survey findings from practitioners with a wide range of expertise, as well as discussion questions to help boards reflect on survey findings in the context of their own structure and practices.

“This year’s survey demonstrates how hospitals and health system boards are rising to meet tomorrow’s challenges through redefining roles, responsibilities and board structures,” said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “These changes are not surprising given the continued transformation in where, how, when and from whom patients receive care.”


The report findings pointed to several positive trends, including:


  • Consistent growth in use of routine executive sessions and in use of board portals, both considered governance best practices;
  • Some growth in racial and ethnic diversity of board members;
  • Two-thirds of all responding boards engaging in restructuring efforts to improve their governance;
  • Inclusion, by almost half of responding system boards, of board members from outside of communities served, adding fresh perspective to board deliberations.


Opportunities identified for improvement include: increasing the number of boards with term limits; improving age diversity, with a focus on younger board members; instituting continuing education requirements; and formal CEO succession planning.

A total of 1,316 CEOs responded to the survey, which was conducted during the spring of 2018.

To view the report, visit www.aha.org/trustees.





Sean Barry, (202) 626-2306, sbarry@aha.org

Marie Johnson, (202) 626-2351, mjohnson@aha.org


About the AHA

The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the improvement of health in their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks and other providers of care. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the website at www.aha.org.