HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRBC) -- State Representative Gerald McCormick and State Senator Todd Gardenhire announced Thursday that they  are sponsoring legislation to revise the governance structure of the Erlanger Health System and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Hospital Authority.

Discussions with the board, management, elected officials, physicians and other stakeholders on the matter have been ongoing for nearly two years. The Authority was originally established by an Act of the General Assembly and adopted by Hamilton County in 1976.

"Erlanger is one of our region's most valuable and critical assets. The size, scope, and mission of Erlanger and T.C. Thompson's Children's Hospital have grown in the last 37 years, and how the Authority is governed at the board level must also evolve," said Rep. McCormick. "With now over $500 million in assets and $500 million in revenues, this is the next step in an ongoing process towards providing corporate oversight consistent with similar enterprises."

"These changes are necessary to equip Erlanger to more effectively compete in an intense and ever changing industry. This is certainly no reflection on the existing board, but recognition of marketplace realities given the corporate environment in which this public entity must operate," said Sen. Gardenhire.

Key provisions of the bill include:

  • A new Community Board of Trustees will be established consisting of nine members reflective of our community: Seven voting members, plus one non-voting representative of academia, and one non-voting physician member with current or past staff privileges at
  • The Board will be self-perpetuating similar to most corporations and non-profit organizations. Upon the vacancy of any seat for any reason, the remaining board members will fill the vacancy by majority vote
  • Except for the initial voting members of the board and chair appointments which will be made jointly by the Hamilton County Legislative Delegation in consultation with the Hamilton County Mayor, political entities will not be responsible for appointing Trustees. The newly reconstituted board will then appoint the academic and physician members, with the physician member to be appointed after consultation with the Chattanooga & Hamilton County Medical Society
  • Trustees will serve a three-year term, and no member may serve a total of more than three terms. Initial members of the board shall serve staggered terms
  • While the Board may create other committees it deems necessary, audit and finance committees must be established
  • Removes provisions which are either unnecessary or addressed in other statutes under state law
  • The board is specifically directed to adopt policies and procedures to ensure the Authority purchases goods and services at competitive prices, and avoid conflicts of interests among the Board, management, and current or potential vendors

The legislation is being prepared and will be formally introduced when the General Assembly reconvenes on January 28.