Broward Health fires another auditor

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health will terminate a contract with its outside CPA at the end of this month after a 29-year working relationship. The fired audit director sees the break-up as the health system's attempt to curb independent examination of the public system, according to the Sun Sentinel

Joel Mutnick, audit director for Plantation, Fla.-based Fiske & Co., abstained from a vote to approve a draft of the firm's audit since the documentation did not disclose several key events, including the suicide of late CEO Nabil El Sanadi, MD, in January 2016, the governor's suspension of two board members and the lawsuit filed against the board by Pauline Grant, interim CEO who was fired in December 2016.

The audit covered the year ending June 30, 2016. Mr. Mutnick served on the committee of Broward board members and executives that supervised a third-party annual audit of the five-hospital system.

"They didn't like not having control of me," Mr. Mutnick told the Sun Sentinel. "Clearly they didn't like the idea of me turning down the financial statements because of their inadequate disclosure. I don't think they liked an outside auditor telling them or questioning the financial statement results."

The chairman of Broward Health's audit committee, Chris Ure, refused accounts that Mr. Mutnick's departure involved his voting record or his independence. Mr. Ure said the committee is operating under new bylaws that impose term limits on members to strengthen independence and fresh perspectives, according to the Sun Sentinel. Under those new bylaws, Mr. Ure said outside members will no longer be paid.

Last September, Broward Health cut ties with KPMG after the accounting firm refused a contract addendum that would have extensively restricted its inquiry powers into Broward's activities. Broward officials said they added the addendum over concerns KPMG would be unable to certify the system's financial statements by the end of the year, due to the length of KPMG's possible investigation into corruption allegations against the system. 

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