After more than two years of searching for a permanent Chief Executive Officer, the Broward Health Board began its interview process today with the first two of four finalists. Perhaps the seminal moment came at the end of each interview with a question from Chairman Rodreguez. He asked plainly – where does quality start [at Broward health]?
The interviewees wisely sidestepped the question through a patient care perspective because the correct answer – that quality starts with the Board and senior management would necessarily open an impolitic and challenging discussion about the pending indictments of two of the five Board members, the corporate counsel, and the current interim CEO. Some of the Board member questions made it evident that they still fail to understand or appreciate the fundamental truth of Broward Health.
The Fundamental Truth – Broward Health is a public enterprise that is so much more than just a hospital system to the community. It is a healthcare safety net. It is an economic engine providing jobs and training in the community. It provides career paths and opportunities for our educational footprint. It is an organization that is entirely owned by and serves the public reinvesting profits and people into our community. Broward Health is not a private hospital system that does some charity work. Neither the Broward Health Board nor its management believes this truth.
Decades ago, Fort Lauderdale leaders established the Hospital System on public lands and with public monies because they did not want their health care left up to market forces, which failed to serve the community. Over time, this system became the public’s “safety net” in an overly complicated health care fabric. Out of these public seeds grew one of the largest hospital systems in the country – Broward Health. A publicly owned, publicly managed, public health care system with over 6,000 mostly dedicated employees is the envy of private interests that everyday covet Broward Health’s assets and money. This history is essential because the current Board of Commissioners and senior management appear to be doing everything they can to privatize and consume the public’s health care assets while making a concerted effort to exclude any public oversight or participation.
The Current Broward Health Board
It’s a broad brush, so let me be a little more specific and, at least for the time being, exclude the two newest Board appointments from criticism. Both Andrew Klein and Nancy Gregoire appear thus far to be not only remarkably competent but skeptical about management and recent Board actions, and they should be. It is good that they do not appear to accept management’s and legal’s representations at face value. I hope they will continue to listen to what staff is telling them with some skepticism and, more importantly, listen to what staff is not telling them. Time will tell.
While I had some hope for Steven Wellins, the third newest Board appointment, that hope has mostly evaporated. He is a senior officer with Well Fargo Bank with many entanglements with Broward Health, which required Mr. Wellins to recuse himself on some important matters. But more importantly, he appears to gulp the cool-aide and become more a cheerleader than someone with serious public oversite responsibilities.
Christopher “Guy Weston” Ure Commissioner Ure, or as I call him “Guy Weston” is a person of low moral character even for an insurance salesman masquerading as a “wealth manager.” Not only was he indicted for willful violations of Florida’s Sunshine laws, but he is also still under investigation for other official misconduct. Not only does he not get it, but he also will never get it. As long as he is on the Board, he will be a public embarrassment to Governor Scott and us.
Chairman Rocky Rodriguez is and has been my friend for more than 35 years. He cares about the community, and selflessly serves. He’s in trouble because he has been, and I believe legal counsel Lynn Barrett and others continue to mislead him with poor advice. Rocky is just too trusting for the job. He was correctly indicted on Sunshine violations, and he should have known better. I feel sorry for my friend.
The Governor continues his more than two-year refusal to fulfill his constitutional obligation to make appointments to complete the seven Broward Health member Board. His irresponsibility will certainly be a campaign issue should he finally announce his much-rumored and expected candidacy for United States Senate. Certainly, the more than 6,000 health care employees and close to 1,000 physicians, not to mention the many vendors and suppliers that the Governor’s failure in appointing Board members has adversely affected, will be a potent political block. Not smart, Governor! With this backdrop, the Board interviewed it’s first two candidates. Here is the meeting:
Meeting Agenda Packet: BH January 22, 2018 Special Meeting