Editorial: 'So much is wrong' with appointment of Broward's new interim CEO

The Sun Sentinel editorial board is appalled by leadership at Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Broward Health.

A scathing editorial in the paper opens with: "Broward Health desperately needs a strong chief executive who can make principled decisions, shore up lagging revenues and change the culture of a public healthcare system long viewed as a political fiefdom that favors family and friends with contracts and jobs."

The editorial comes on the heels of the board's decision to place Commissioner Beverly Capasso as interim CEO of the system — the fourth interim leader the system has seen in the past year since its former CEO Nabil El Sanadi, MD, committed suicide.

Here are the main issues the editorial board outlined in regard to the way the health system has been conducting business.

1. The editorial board believes Ms. Capasso, who voted to elect herself for the interim position, did so illegally. Ms. Capasso participated in the vote electing her to the interim position. She and four other commissioners approved her appointment, according to the report. The editorial board believes this was a violation of Florida voting law, which prohibits public officers from voting on something that could benefit or hinder themselves. "If it is legal, then it needs to be made illegal," the editorial board wrote. "Public servants shouldn't be allowed to use their public positions to feed at the public trough."

2. Ms. Capasso's contract will be negotiated by General Counsel Lynn Barrett. The editorial board took issue with this because the two are friends and because Ms. Barrett is a controversial figure due to prior complaints from staff, physicians and other board commissioners.

3. The newspaper suggests a closed-door culture exists among the health system's board of commissioners. The Sun Sentinel suggests the hospital board is violating Florida's Sunshine Law, which requires the board to conduct meetings, records, votes and other deliberations before the public. The Sun Sentinel cited examples such as the lack of questioning and deliberation of Ms. Capasso's suitability for the position after it was announced at a meeting, as well as the lack of debate on a $15 million turnaround plan presented by consultants from Kaufman Hall. The newspaper inferred that commissioners' lack of deliberation means they were briefed in private on both matters.

4. The Sun Sentinel believes the system should find a permanent CEO before moving forward with a turnaround plan. The board of commissioners hired Kaufman Hall to examine operations and the firm came back with a $15 million turnaround plan, according to the editorial.

Though the board of commissioners was ready to hire Kaufman Hall, Chairman Rocky Rodriguez stepped in and said he supported hiring the firm for the 60-day assessment, but that, "This process has not been properly vetted, lacks transparency and we have no idea if and when other reductions were made to other important programs to accommodate this outrageous endeavor. In addition, we could hire more than 15 CEOs for the pricetag of the Kaufman project. Kaufman continues to tell staff and me that we need them here because we will not find a CEO for at least 18 months," according to the report. No additional details were available about the board's decision to bring on Kaufman Hall for the project. 

Read more here.


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