KershawHealth’s nine-member board of trustees is appointed for six-year terms by the Kershaw County Council. These trustees, who come from throughout Kershaw County, represent a broad range of expertise. Because healthcare is such a complicated and highly-regulated business, serving on the board demands a great deal of work and a significant time commitment. We are deeply grateful for those who, during the last 100 years, have given so generously of their time and talents. Their leadership and support have been critical to the growth and quality of healthcare in Kershaw County.
The primary responsibility of the board of trustees is to provide oversight and guidance to KershawHealth, ensure its financial viability, approve its strategic direction, and monitor its performance. The board does not manage the day-to-day operations of the organization -- rather, it establishes major policies; ensures the quality of the executive and medical staff; approves goals and monitors performance to ensure clinical quality, patient safety, and customer service excellence; and ensures legal, regulatory, and accreditation compliance requirements are met.
This role and the commitment of trustees are so critical that the current board has developed a position description to make explicit its scope and responsibilities. In the words of that document, trustees are “ultimately accountable to act in the best interests of the community as a whole and the mission of the organization. The board member carries out his or her responsibilities in recognition of a fiduciary responsibility and does not represent the interests of any constituency or individual.”
During the past 100 years, there have been certain critical junctures in KershawHealth’s history when its future direction and indeed its very viability were seriously threatened, requiring the trustees to provide extraordinary leadership. Less than a decade after the Camden Hospital opened, the first challenge occurred when in 1921 the original building burned. The board rose to the occasion committing to not only rebuild the hospital, but to expand the facility. In the 1930s, at the height of the Depression, the board once again rallied support for the hospital, thereby avoiding the very real threat of its closure. When the role of the hospital in the community was challenged in the 1950s, the board again reiterated its support of the hospital’s mission to provide care for everyone in Kershaw County.
We are at one of these critical junctures again today, and strategic decisions made by the board of trustees will affect the future of healthcare in Kershaw County for generations to come. We must recognize that the current national healthcare debate will ultimately affect our local healthcare system. We face great uncertainty as well as intense financial pressure -- all of this at a time when we remain committed to continuously improving the quality of care we provide.
And so once again, the KershawHealth Board of Trustees will be called upon to act decisively to promote the best interests of the organization and the community we all serve.