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The Chairman of the Board is one of the members of the hospital's Board of Directors who the rest of the board members have agreed will act as the arbiter of the board's rules and procedures and will speak as the voice of the board to both the staff of the hospital and to the public. The Chairman has no say in the day-to-day management of the hospital (that is the responsibility of the Dean of Medicine), but usually will make themselves as familiar as possible with the hospital's operation. The Chairman is usually the hospital's most important donor.
Differing Chairmen have differing approaches to their role. The two Chairmen who have been portrayed on the series have had quite different approaches to their role. Edward Vogler was very hands on and demanded that staff provide him with the details of all of the hospital's operations so he could look for deficiencies. However, the other chairman, Sanford Wells, tends to leave all but the most important decisions to the hospital's regular management.