How do you hold a Board, that is politically appointed by
the Governor, accountable? Embarrassment
without a credible threat of removal goes just so far for Board members who too
often care little for their reputations.
Since 2012, I have attended most Broward Health Board meetings, and been writing articles published here and in my blogs www.BrwdHealth.com and DanLewisReport.com. My writings have tried to expose, cajole, persuade, embarrass, and inform the Broward Health Board and senior leadership to do a better job. But each time, I come back to accountability.
Of course, the obvious
answer is – you can’t hold the Board accountable, but you must hold the
Governor accountable. Some would argue
that Rick Scott did not create the problems at Broward Health, but I would counter that he certainly could address and
Instead, Rick Scott appointed inexperienced political hacks
to the Broward Health Board. Then he
suspended some members of the Board.
Then he opened an Inspector
General and an FDLE (Florida Department of Law Enforcement) investigation into Broward Health (both continuing today after close to three years). Then he refuses to appoint a full complement
of Board members in effect crippling the ability of the Board to assemble a
quorum for necessary meetings. For over
a year, there were only four of seven board members. Now there are five of seven Board members
appointed. Insult to injury against
Broward Health, one of the recent Board appointments appears to have been
selected specifically to protect Broward Health’s legal counsel who is
responsible for hiring law firms that coincidentally support Rick Scott. Just recently, Foley & Lardner LLP, one
of these law firms has even been rumored to be pushing Governor Scott to
appoint another ‘friend’ to the Board to shore up the increasingly exposed and
embattled Broward Health legal counsel’s ‘protection.’ Of course, it should come as no particular
surprise that Foley & Lardner’s projected fees for the 2018-2019 fiscal
year from Broward Health are ‘budgeted’ at over two million dollars. That’s a lot of candidate Rick Scott support!
Regardless of your political persuasion,
if you care about the health of your family, your friends or yourself – and you
live north of 595 in Broward County – you simply cannot give your vote to Rick
Scott. He must be held accountable for
the cavalier manner in which he has politicised and monetized his gubernatorial
responsibilities to Broward Health and our community. There must be consequences for his
irresponsibility that has risked the health of our families and our community just
for his personal and political gain.
For Senate, vote for anyone but Rick Scott. Let that be a consequence of how he has screwed up Broward Health while Governor for thousands of your friends and neighbors.
Read the latest Broward Health articles on the Dan Lewis Report, or click the headlines below. All original content about Broward Health will now be published on the Dan Lewis Report and for a time be linked on this BrwdHealth site.
June 20, 2018. This morning, there was a three-minute status hearing in front of the Honorable Judge Zeller on the trial of the indicted Beverly Capasso – CEO, Lynn Barrett – Corporate Counsel, Commissioner Christopher Ure, and ex-commissioners Rocky Rodriguez and Linda Robison on alleged violations of Florida’s Sunshine Laws. (See numerous past articles for more details) The hearing was continued until September because a permanent judge has not been assigned to the case and there are multiple motions pending judicial ruling. Chief Judge…
June 20, 2018. In the sometimes bizarro world of Broward Health, breaches of ethics and a Civil War is brewing just below the surface. One side is Lynn Barrett, Broward Health’s Corporate Counsel. Remarkably it appears the other side is CEO, Bev Capasso, recently emboldened by her loosely negotiated employment contract. Broward Health’s Board of Commissioners seems to split among the two camps. Then there was the appointment of the newest Board member, Commissioner Ray Berry. He was impressive at his first set of public meetings…
5/30/18 Broward Health Marathon Board Meetings A lot is going on at Broward Health. Some of it is good. Some of it, not so much. Probably the biggest news for a public oversight perspective is the Governor’s latest appointment of Ray Berry. While the Governor still needs to appoint two more commissioners to the Board, based on the performance of Commissioner Berry in his first public meetings at Broward Health – the Governor appears to have made a good choice…
…The taxpayer’s tab for Broward Health’s lawyers this year is nearly $1 million more this year than in 2017, with annual legal expenses now budgeted at more than $6.1 million.
…A request for information about Broward Health’s in-house attorneys led the district to identify seven in-house attorneys with base annual salaries ranging from $91,500 to Barrett’s $340,000. Barrett’s four top lieutenants, with titles of senior associate general counsel, draw base salaries of $239,000, $222,000, $175,000 and $165,000.
…The salaries of those attorneys, who also stand to collect a bonus of 17.5 percent of their salary this year if a recently proposed management incentive plan is implemented, total about $1.3 million, according to Broward Health’s information. But the 2018 budget for the general counsel’s office is $2,156,966, or more than 60 percent higher, indicating that salary hikes for in-house are in the works…
By Dan Christensen, Florida Bulldog.org – Things are getting stranger at Broward Health. On Friday, the taxpayer subsidized public hospital system began refusing to provide requested public information. On Monday, the governor’s office declined to explain why Rick Scott hasn’t suspended indicted district leaders.
…”The decision by Broward Health to no longer answer the public’s questions comes on the heels of news earlier this year that the district was demanding thousands of dollars in administrative and legal fees before allowing public access to records about its lawyers and legal costs.” …
“Broward Health is poised to give fat bonuses to its leadership, including two officials who are under indictment.”
Bev Capasso – Lynn Barrett
“With its top leadership under indictment and its top doctors openly warning that mismanagement is affecting healthcare, Broward Health is poised to award $7.2 million in bonuses to its highest executives and managers.”
I’m trying to understand why I am so angry tonight after spending most of the afternoon and early evening at a pair of Broward Health Board Meetings.
I don’t think that the fact the Board, after a transparent charade, would choose now indicted and under an ethical cloud Interim CEO Capasso as Broward Health’s permanent CEO made me angry. After all, last year I wrote an article “Barrett Continues to Purge Top Broward Health Employees,”and I predicted that the Board would appoint Capasso, so that wasn’t a surprise.
In that article I wrote:
…” the permanent CEO search has been alternatively started, stopped, started, pending primarily at the initiative of Board member Chris Ure. Meanwhile, a costly “outside independent consultant” has been conducting the non-existent search and vetting candidates for a job that most think has already been filled by a Governor Scott’s appointment Capasso through what many consider an illegal Board action.”
… “Currently, there is no discernable effort to find a permanent CEO to replace the interim CEO, Beverly Capasso. And while this non-effort continues, Ms.Capasso is hiring permanent staff to fill purged employees. This is not the action of an interim. I again give voice to the generally accepted charade that predicts Capasso is here to stay until a competent and proficient Board is appointed.”
… “The unavoidable optic of these “resignations” is that Broward Health Corporate Counsel Lynn Barrett, apparently together with her pal – Interim Broward Health CEO Beverly Capasso, appear to be consolidating their hold around the neck of Broward Health, purging anyone in their path. The feckless Board continues to turn a blind eye and seems indifferent to the thousands of employees and the public they purportedly serve.“
I don’t think that the fact that Capasso could not and did not meet the qualifications to become the CEO of Broward General when she applied and was turned down for that position, let alone the standards set by the Board for all the applicants of the CEO of the Broward Health system made me angry.
I admit I got a little angry at the three black ministers plus a political operative with questionable providence, who, after meeting with Broward Health “Senior Staff,” said that not only did they represent the community but that the community wanted the Board to select Interim CEO Capasso for the permanent position. These “representatives” might represent their congregations, but they certainly don’t represent the black community as a whole nor do they even come close to representing the Broward Health community: not the physicians, not the employees, not the staff, not the vendors of goods or services and certainly not the taxpayers or close to two million residents in the Broward Health district.
This Blog gets some 30,000 pageviews per month, and I hear from hundreds of readers regularly. They tell me their views, and they share their stories with me. Many times, I have shared their stories with you through my writing. I would submit to you that that is far more representative than our four wise men claiming they represent “the community.”
I also got a little angry when the “Senior Leadership” presented their sub-par grades for the four applicants which ranged from a one to a 2.9 on a scale of 5. I was angry that a committee comprised almost exclusively of persons hired by Capasso torpedoed the four applicants for CEO, and the Board just gobbled up that crap without question.
I wasn’t even particularly angry when a practiced, meek and humbled Capasso accepted the permanent CEO position saying “gee, golly, I’ll have to sacrifice my lifelong desire to get a doctorate in nursing” (in spite of the fact she would need first an accredited masters degree) and all for a measly $700 thousand a year. (I’ll bet her new contract will be much higher and with a generous severance!)
I think disappointment is what triggered my anger. I had hoped that the new Board appointments would help get Broward Health back on track. I hoped that they would see through the nonsense and install a real, independent and experienced CEO in whom the real Broward Health community could have faith.
If I were a cynical person, I would bet that the appointment of Capasso as permanent CEO was orchestrated, just barely in the sunshine. Regardless, the Board’s decision was certainly manipulated, whether they know it or not. What this Board does if Capasso gets convicted on all counts will be interesting, even more so if she is found to have violated Florida’s ethics rules in voting for herself as well. Perhaps the Board will shrug the conviction off parroting what one new commissioner said: “It’s just a misdemeanor!” So who cares about Florida’s Sunshine laws. Certainly not the Governor, and apparently not the Board.
Oh, one last thing before I close. The Board in appointing Capasso gleefully exclaimed how everything was so wonderful. This letter from the Unified Medical Staff at Broward Health dated a few days ago paints a very different picture.
To respond to the Board when a few of them asked for community input. Let me summarize; I think the community wanted a deliberate, fair and impartial selection of a professional, experienced and independent CEO.
Instead, the Board insulted the community with banal pandering of the worst sort and utterly failed in one of their most important tasks. So, same old, same old. I’m not angry anymore, just sad.
Here are the videos of the meetings. The real hero on the Board was the one principled “No” vote from Rocky Rodriguez.
Note: Check back in the next day or so for the Agenda Packet update.
1/31/2018 – 1:00pm Special Board Meeting on the CEO Selection
1/31/2018 – 4:00 pm Regular Board Meeting where CEO Decision Ratified & sweetened.
1/31/2018 Broward Health Regular Meeting Packet Excerpts: