Slack tide comes to Broward Health

Broward Health will start 2019 with a political and practical slack tide, a short period that is completely unstressed.  This period occurs before the newly elected state and local political, and governmental forces are settled with their organizational transitions.

I followed Broward Health’s activities generally since 1996 and intently since 2011.  Never during that time have I seen a time where there was a greater opportunity to affect the structure and future of the organization and its role in our Broward Community.

The reason for my optimism comes in several parts.  First, the now six members of Broward Health’s Board of Commissioners, appear to be not only competent – but also independent from any of the county’s aging political infrastructure.  While the Board does not have significant public policy experience or even passing institutional knowledge of public entities – the core members are enthusiastic to learn and work well together.  More important, through my direct and significant conversations with the core of the Board, I can report that each one desires to serve the community in the best way they can irrespective of any external pressure.   In short, they take their oversight responsibilities on behalf of the Broward community seriously. I continue to reference the core board, that is the four members who comprise the super-majority that voted to terminate Broward Health’s former counsel Lynn Barrett.  Simultaneous with the vote, the Governor appointed a new member who together with resigned commissioner Wellins opposed the termination.  Then the Governor appointed another member who was sworn in at the December 12th meeting.  These two newly appointed members of the Board are the new kids, and although I have not had the opportunity to visit with them yet, I believe they will fit in well and will add value to the strongest and most competent Board I can remember.

Second, it is this Board that at their December 12th meeting appointed Mr. Santorio and by extension his team, to lead the organization in effect wisely choosing stability over another period of transition for Broward Health.  Mr. Santorio leads a young team of unencumbered fearless, energetic, competent folks – almost all of them new to both the organization and to Broward.  This newness is both a strength and a weakness.  This management team will need to operate at a high and independent professional level within both an awareness and an appreciation for the community of Broward.  No small task, but I think they can do it – with our help.

From my conversations with the Board and the management team, I am convinced that there is no short-term possibility of diminishing Broward Health’s presence or footprint in Broward, in fact – just the opposite is true.  The entire strategic plan is to reinvest into the community by expanding Broward Health’s lines of service proximate to the community needs.  This strategic plan is contrary to the consistent past rumors of some well-connected political players efforts to monetize and sell off some selective district assets.

Third, with the political changing of the guard in Tallahassee coupled with the nearly completely appointed Broward Health Board (for the first time since 2015), there should be a period of much-needed stability on the Board.  But like all things political – this appointment stability is measured in months and not years.

Fourth, both the Board and senior management has come to understand compliance in the context of a modern hospital system.  Here compliance is as much about changing  governmental regulation as it is about creating a foundation for the multi-faceted organizational relevance to the community, the district’s taxpayer owners, and the mission of public health.

It’s time to come back to Broward Health.  It’s time to engage in your hospital system.  Socrates once said that “it goes a long way to make a man trustworthy, to trust him.”  It’s time to trust Broward Health (but verify!).  During this slack tide – that’s what I’m going to do!

Because the slack tide does not last, my message to Broward Health for 2019 is the three do-it rules;  Do it, Do it right, Do it right now.  I’ll be paying attention!  Stay tuned.

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