Can Board Members Be Related?

Can board members be related?

Based on the Health Center Program Compliance Manual (Chapter 20-Board Composition; Element D), a health center board member may not be an immediate family member of a current health center employee (ex. spouses, children, parents or siblings through blood, adoption, or marriage). 

Board members that are related to each other (ex. siblings, parent/child, spouses) may serve on the same health center board. While the HRSA Program requirements may not prohibit board members from being related, it is not considered an industry best practice, and not considered good governance. It should be a health center’s practice to have good governance which means avoiding perceived conflicts of interest and ensuring transparency in decision making. If board members are related, it is important to carefully manage and disclose any potential conflicts of interest. Board members with familial relationships should abstain from voting or participating in decisions where a conflict may arise. The goal is to ensure that decisions are made in the best interest of the health center and the community served.

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