Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Are FQHC Boards Truly Representative of the Consumer Population?

According to a recent report in the Journal of Health Politics and Law, "Despite the requirement that a majority of board members must be consumers, the results of this study suggest that descriptive representation is lacking on most FQHC governing boards. While nearly two-thirds of board members are consumers, only about one-fourth are representative of typical FQHC patients. What is more, the method used to categorize consumer board members is likely to have overestimated the degree of descriptive representation. It is reasonable to assume that the true proportion of representative consumer board members may be closer to one in five. By contrast, the majority of consumer board members are not representative. While the board members in this group do report being FQHC patients, they also belong to a high-status group that includes physicians, lawyers, and other professionals."*
In order to determine how representative our local FQHC, Umpqua Community Health Center board of directors is, two OPRA folks requested information about who the current UCHC board members are.   Unfortunately UCHC has not been forthcoming, inspite of the fact that federal law requires that they provide certain information, which includes names of the individuals on their board, to  the public.  It makes one wonder if UCHC is one of those FQHC discussed in the report that fails to fulfill the intent of the mandatory requirement of majority representation by their consumers. 
So is the Umpqua Community Health Center (UCHC) board truly representative of the consumers UCHC serves?  Are policies being made that represent these patients' interests?

*Excerpted from: Brad Wright, Who Governs Federally Qualified Health Centers?, 38 Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law 27 (February, 2013)

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