Patient care at Broward Health is 'hanging by a thread' amid administrative chaos

Complaints of administrative chaos that threaten patient care led the board of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health to demote its interim CEO, according to the Sun Sentinel.

An environment of fear and a deficiency of long-term physician contracts have contributed to the chaos that ultimately led to the board's decision to replace Kevin Fusco with Pauline Grant. Mr. Fusco was appointed acting president and CEO following the suicide of former chief, Nabil El Sanadi, MD. Ms. Grant has served in various positions with Broward Health. Since 2003, she's served as CEO of Broward Health North in Deerfield Beach, Fla.

Many of Broward's physicians have been given 60 or 90-day extensions instead of contracts due to issues in the legal review process, according to the report. If just one or two physicians in certain specialties, such as vascular surgery or neurology, leave the system, Broward hospitals could be forced to turn patients away.

"Patient care at Broward Health is hanging by a thread," said Louis Yogel, MD, chief of staff of BrowardHealthMedicalCenter in Fort Lauderdale, according to the report. He said physicians are so frustrated many have taken unanimous no-confidence votes on Broward Health's law department. No one could reach the health system attorneys regarding contracts and morale was "as low as I've ever seen it," according to Dr. Yogel.

"There's got to be better accountability," Dr. Yogel said, according to the report. "There's got to be deadlines. Somebody's got to take control of this ship. You're 30 days away from Broward General collapsing and losing its trauma service."

Broward Health Imperial Point in Fort Lauderdale has just one remaining neurologist. "As soon as he's gone, I'll have to notify the state that we can't take stroke patients," Alice Taylor, CEO of the hospital, told the Sun Sentinel.

The board voted to remove Mr. Fusco from the CEO spot and return him to his job as COO. Ms. Grant will serve as interim CEO until the board identifies a permanent one. A proposal by Board Chairman David Di Pietro to fire general counsel Lynn Barrett did not come up for vote. Instead, the board will evaluate her performance at its April meeting.

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