Community Health Center boards are required by law to hold regularly scheduled meetings, at least once each month, and to keep minutes for these meetings. (Please note: see HRSA’s August 2017 Health Center Program Compliance Manual, Chapter 19: Board Authority for more information about requirements related to board meetings.)
The board meeting should be a forum to efficiently present and discuss issues, make governing decisions fairly and consistently, express the will of the majority while protecting the rights of all members, and make effective use of everyone’s time.
Parliamentary procedures (or “rules of order”) help boards achieve these goals in a commonly accepted way, and a basic understanding of these procedures will help your health center hold the most efficient and effective meetings possible. The larger your board, the more strict the rules may need to be. However, smaller meetings can run quite smoothly with informal use of rules.
- Click HERE for “Robert’s Rules Made Eas(ier)” by Jean Block
Keep your board meetings as effective as possible by following these suggestions:
- Try to disagree without being disagreeable
- Work strategically at every meeting, referring to the organization’s strategic plan
- Let the chairperson lead each meeting (not just someone who has seniority or who is taking his or her turn)
- Even if a meeting uses informal rules, it is important to ensure that each member’s vote is properly counted. In very small meetings, a voice-vote may suffice; in larger meetings, a count of raised hands or written ballot may be necessary.
- Consider asking your board members to evaluate the effectiveness of the meetings. Download this sample Board Meeting Evaluation form for tips.
Several Region VIII CHCs have graciously provided sample agendas from their Board of Directors Meetings. If your CHC is willling to share a sample agenda for this site, please contact the CHAMPS Workforce Development & Member Services Director.
Sample BOD Meeting Agendas:
- Sample Agenda – Minnesota/North Dakota CHC
- Sample Agenda – Montana CHC
- Sample Agenda – 2nd Montana CHC
- Sample Agenda – North Dakota CHC
- Sample Biennial Agenda – Montana CHC
Federal regulations stipulate that CHC Boards of Directors should meet at least monthly, and that minutes must be kept of each meeting. These minutes are the official record of any actions and/or decisions made by the board, and are often reviewed during annual independent organizational audits to assure the organization is following the board’s directives. Minutes also play an important historical role by preserving accomplishments and goals, and allowing current board members to stay abreast of current issues and dialogue.
Meeting minutes should include:
- Organization’s name
- Type of meeting
- Date, time, and location of meeting
- List of attendees (usually separated into categories for board, staff, etc. and including officer titles); consider including list of absent members
- Approval of previous minutes by board vote, noting any changes or corrections
- Any motions and motion amendments, using exact wording, and the decision on the motion
- Separate paragraphs for each topic
- Summary of any discussions, including the major points of a debate (to allow absent board members review the procedings)
- Time of adjournment
- Signature of secretary, after board approval
For more parliamentary procedure and meeting management information, visit these online resources:
Guidelines to Conducting Effective Meetings
National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC)
Virtual Board Retreats
National Association of Parliamentarians
The Official Robert’s Rules of Order Web Site
FAQs, Book Order
Online Robert’s Rules of Order, Revised