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What does governance of a rural health network look like?

The governance structure of a rural health network will in part depend on the organizational form of the network.  Other characteristics of governance structure will begin to develop as stakeholders engage in discussions regarding collective interests and models for decision-making.  Members' abilities to establish and adopt rules and expectations for collaboration, cooperation, and negotiation are key for effective governing.

Formal networks, in general, will have more structured governance frameworks.  For networks governed under a written agreement, a shared leadership approach for governance is often utilized.  In such cases, assent of all member representatives will usually be necessary for decision-making.  For incorporated networks, the bylaws developed by the members will largely dictate the governance structure, including defining the roles and responsibilities of the leadership and other membership.  Furthermore, the required votes and the manner for conducting decision-making will also be detailed in the operating agreement or bylaws. 

In addition, certain networks may choose to employ one or more individuals as dedicated staff.  In such cases, the director of the network staff should report to the board of directors and may serve as a corporate officer, as specified in the operating agreement or bylaws.

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