Hospitals face a growing array of daunting change and challenges: electronic health records, ICD-10 implementation, new penalty programs and payment models, new regulatory hurdles like the "two midnight" admission policy, rapid implementation of Medicare outpatient rules and dealing with recovery audit contractors. Over the past year, the Committee on Governance worked to ensure that the American Hospital Association, trustees and the hospitals, communities and patients they serve are prepared to meet those challenges.

Our year began by looking at three important questions that will have ramifications for years, if not decades, to come: How do we ensure the future viability of our health care system? What role do hospitals play in immigration reform? And, how can we make hospital pricing and billing more transparent and patient-friendly?

Those discussions continued throughout the year as we looked at how hospitals can be good stewards of precious medical resources and provided input on several key pieces of research, including: emerging care delivery models, the changing health care workforce, and the key drivers of integration in health care and successful strategies.

In the fall, we turned to the year ahead, examining near-term governance challenges, the value of continuing medical education and the power of quality measurement when done correctly. We then joined the members of other AHA committees to take the hospital field's advocacy message directly to Capitol Hill to protect patient care by rejecting additional cuts to hospital funding.

The challenges facing hospitals are numerous, and the complexity of the health care field will only continue to increase. I am honored to serve as COG chair in 2014 and to play a small role in helping to prepare the AHA, and trustees in particular, for the road ahead. You can play a part by becoming involved in the AHA governance process. I encourage you to visit www.aha.org/trusteeopportunities to explore ways in which you can participate, determine which is right for you, and apply.

Bina Eggensperger (bina@blackfoot.net) is COG chair and a trustee of Clark Fork Valley Hospital in Plains, Mont.