Some Broward Health board members, and senior staff (in particular, clueless CEO – Dr. Nabil El Sanadi) ostensibly wants the public to think that what they do is none of anyone’s business and view the sunshine laws and transparency mandated by statute as simply an aggravation they must grudgingly and not happily endure.
When these few seemingly bad actors hang out their shingle announcing “Open for Business”, they aparently think it’s their business – not the public’s business.
Here is why they are wrong.
Broward Health is a public hospital system, created, established and funded by the community from a 45 bed hospital in 1938 to the massive public hospital system Broward Health is today.
The early Broward community came together, volunteered their time, and raised money through Broward’s first “Hospital Fund” to convert the Granada apartments to a 45-bed hospital. In 1938, Broward Hospital admitted it first patient. Fort Lauderdale paid for the new South Wing in 1942. In 1948, the East Wing was built raising the Broward Hospital’s bed capacity to 142. With donated land from the City of Fort Lauderdale and a legislative act approved by the voters in 1952 the North Broward Hospital District was created. Broward Hospital was renamed Broward General and today it is known as Broward Medical Center.
From this community beginning, Broward General evolved from a 45 –bed hospital to Broward Health with over 50 health care facilities including 4 hospitals, close to 8,000 employees, and annual medical billings of close to 4 billion dollars with an annual budget of 1 billion dollars. Today, Broward Health is one of 10 largest public hospital systems in the nation.
The most important purpose of Broward Health as one of the two public hospital systems in Broward is to provide for the health care needs of Broward. The current leadership of Broward Health incorrectly understands this purpose as simply serving the indigent and proving a safety-net for those that cannot pay for healthcare services, but the health care needs of Broward are so much more. It includes keeping health care costs down through competitive strategies, training our healthcare professionals (physicians, nurses, technicians, managers) for the future, creating healthcare employment opportunities for our citizens, providing required healthcare services to the county, municipalities and constitutional officers in Broward, and the list goes on. The list does not include providing duplicative health services that are already being provided at similar price and quality levels by private and perhaps ‘competing’ healthcare providers.
Broward Health has become more than just a healthcare organization to Broward. Broward health is a massive economic engine in the county because unlike private healthcare organizations that send its profit dollars to stock-holders and overpaid executives outside of Broward, most of Broward Health’s money is spent in Broward in the form of employee salaries, building projects and its associated job creation, and purchases of consumable supplies. As Frank Nask, Broward Health’s previous CEO, often said “Broward Health doesn’t have stockholders, we have patients and taxpayers.”
Broward Health is not a private hospital system that does some community benefit work, it is a public community hospital system that operates a health care system in Broward. Broward does not provide community benefit work because it is tax based, and the removal of the tax base would not make Broward Health a private hospital system. Everything Broward Health owns is owned by the public. Everything Broward Health does is the public’s business.
It’s all our business, really!