It’s Black and White
On the one hand, Broward Health interim CEO Paulene Grant, was accused by a physician of indirectly benefiting from an alleged kickback scheme involving two physicians who are still working at Broward Health. Allegedly, the accusing physician had been denied hospital rotation privileges due to peer review action (bad physician). Notably, apparently Lynn Barrett, Broward Health Corporate Council hired outside council as an interim compliance officer who made a determination that Pauline Grant did not, in fact violate the anti-kickback statues Nevertheless, Ms. Grant was fired for cause and escorted from the premises as a result of these accusations. Of course, there is pending litigation.
On the other hand, the most recent Independent Review Organization (IRO) report accuses Senior Vice president Doris Peek of multiple “intentional misrepresentations” , “intentionally misleading the Board of Commissioners”, an “apparent fraudulent scheme” and “engaging in ‘obsessive efforts’ to steer improper and excessive payments to a marketing firm owned by Ben Porritt, former national spokesman for John McCain’s presidential campaign… As a result, more than $1.9 million was paid to Porritt’s company, of which nearly $1.7 million was in excess of the amount agreed in the original contract, according to the report.” Ominously, the IRO concludes “We leave it to others to determine whether Peek, as a public employee of Broward Health, may have used or attempted to use her position to secure a special privilege or benefit for Outside Eyes and Porritt (112.313( 6), Florida Statutes) by improperly disclosing non-public intonation obtained by reason of her employment for the personal gain or benefit of Outside Eyes and Porritt ((112.313(8), Florida Statutes).” It appears that in the face of these very serious allegations, Doris Peek was allowed to “retire” maintaining her benefits. It is unclear if Ms. Peek also received a sweetheart severance package together with usual confidentiality agreement to keep her from talking about what really goes on at corporate.
The difference, unlike with Doris Peek, there is no suggestion that interim CEO Paulene Grant lied or mislead anyone or did anything to discredit either Broward Health or her position.
The difference is Paulene Grant is black, and Doris Peek is white. It’s racism, pure and simple. The Board should be ashamed!
On May 21, 2015, I posted “OMG – Nabil El Sanadi’s First 5 Months!” and noted “Dr. Nabil El Sanadi’s first 5 months as CEO is peppered by his apparent arrogant administrative miss-steps, ‘discretionary’ spending seemingly more befitting a drunken sailor, a rumored lack of confidence vote by the medical staff, and ostensible team busting organizational paranoia that even by Broward Health standards is remarkable.” Recent IRO disclosures and the significant downgrading of Broward Health’s credit rating based, in part on “The magnitude of the downgrade and maintenance of the negative outlook reflect a sharp decline in operating performance during the current FY 2016, representing significant negative variance relative to historical operating performance and budget, and a potential future breach of debt service coverage covenant,” The rating agency said. “The rating action also reflects significant transition in senior leadership, heightened external scrutiny, and depressed liquidity partly due to payout for recent legal settlement.” Suggest that since Dr. El Sanadi’s curious suicide, Broward Health has continued his financial and management incompetence with vigor.
Broward Health’s finances are sitting on a three-legged stool supported by taxpayers, Obama Care (in particular Medicaid & previously uninsured), and investments. Commissioner Ure, a man who should know better, wants us to believe it is the effective interim management with a wonderful story to tell. In fact, Broward Health is in perilous financial shape after little more than two years of financial mismanagement and incompetent leadership buoyed only by an historically strong balance sheet bought and paid for by years of taxpayer support and employee dedication.
Fortunately, the financial core of Broward Health’s balance sheet is found in its 8,000 dedicated health professionals, who while embarrassed by the current corporate leadership and board, continue to give their best for the health of the community. In spite of their dedication and millions spent in “advertising”, occupancy and census for use of Broward Health’s services continue to be weak.
Note the startling differences in the financial reports from fiscal year 2015 & 2016. The first from KPMG, a top 10 accounting firm, the second from a “shopped” accounting firm who agreed – for a paycheck, to ignore critical elements of Broward Health’s financial picture, like the federal regulatory actions and the numerous active federal, state and local investigations on both civil and criminal issues. (Click the links)
Transition in senior leadership
“significant transition in senior leadership” – Talk about understatement!
In May, the Broward Health board without either comment or discussion appointed board member Beverly Capasso as interim CEO of Broward Health – its fourth CEO in 18 months, and Ms. Capasso voted for it!!! Even after a formal sunshine complaint – apparently what is patently obvious to everyone, the State Attorney has yet to find a violation. My guess, and hope is that any jury would reasonably determine that the vote had been impermissibly pre-arranged in smoke-filled back rooms – and all the commissioners who voted for it are guilty as hell! But, that’s my opinion.
If you’ve reading this blog for any time, you may recall that El Sanadi with and through his corporate power-hungry coven consisting of IT – Doris Peek, Personnel – Dionne Wong, and Compliance – Donna Lewis, began a purge of all senior leadership with any opposition to their (I mean Dr. El Sanadi’s) ambitions. The current IRO report on Peek gives a peek into the free-wheeling conduct of these El Sanadi’s familiars.
Subsequent to El Sanadi’s suicide, the power shifted to Lynn Barrett – Broward Health’s corporate attorney who had been hired by the El Sanadi commission of Rodriguez, DiPietro, Neiland and Wright after they purged the extraordinarily competent and well respected governmental attorney Sam Goren. Interim CEO Keven Fusco, who had been hand-picked by El Sanadi after he purged the previous Chief Operating Officer, and he could stay just so long as he was a good boy, which wasn’t for long.
Compliance Donna Lewis was the first to go. after all, compliance is Barrett’s exclusive area. Compliance was now how everyone at Broward Health would be measured – new current rules could and in cases where anyone opposed Barrett’s ambitions – would be applied retroactively (as in the case of Paulene Grant).
This compliance inquisition is carried out by the “Independent Review Organizations” IRO at the “direction” of Barrett which, on the surface, is perfectly understandable. But there are fair questions about exactly how was the IRO chosen. One would expect that a Request for Proposal (RFP) would have been issued for this lucrative contract. No RFP.
Instead there are a few tangled Barrett private relationships including purported best friend Myla Reizen, Heidi Sorenson, Laura Ellis and Scott Newton author of the IRO report. Notwithstanding these apparent irregularities and undisclosed relationships, the substance of the IRO report appear both comprehensive and independent even if the targets are “coincidentally” persons pushing back against Barrett’s ambitions.
However, with substantial complaints and questions relating to Barrett’s conduct including (but not limited to): complaints and calls related to Barrett, Reizen, Newton and Perez; Barrett’s Broward Health’s hush money severance policy; The Baker Donelson invoices; The Foley invoices; corrective action plans for PPUC contracts; etc… It is curious why the IRO is not reviewing these matters with the same enthusiasm as he reviews those publicly speaking out against Barrett’s alleged excesses. Certainly, a circumstantial argument could be made that the IRO is not as independent as it should be.
The only thing worse than being a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite. – Tennessee Williams
Tic Toc, time is running out.
Which Broward Health Commissioner might find it’s a good time to quietly resign?
The 5th clue is the link between Barbara Stanwyck, Ursula Thiess, and Jay Cohen and you’ll have the ethical key to this Commissioner’s problem at Broward Health.
Remember: you can send me anonymous tips and information through my About/Contact page.