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Broward Health seeks bids for ad contract as huge no-bid deal with Zimmerman dies

By Buddy Nevins and Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org Broward Health hq

In a signal that Broward Health’s controversial no-bid $71.4 million deal with Zimmerman Advertising is dead, blueprints have been drafted for a new, smaller marketing campaign for the public health system.

The Zimmerman agreement collapsed after the suicide of former Broward Health CEO Nabil El Sanadi.  His death triggered a wave of negative publicity as news surfaced of separate investigations by the governor’s office and the FBI of business practices at Broward Health.

“It’s done,” Broward Health Commissioner Maureen Canada said. “With all the heat that came onto the Board (of Commissioners) with the contract, it was better we move on.”

Advertising firms earlier this month were asked to provide ideas and potential budgets to produce media ads for Broward Health’s four public hospitals, 16 community health clinics, four urgent care centers and the Broward Health Physicians Group of roughly 90 doctors, according to the Request for Proposals obtained by Floridabulldog.org.

Inviting competitive bidding from registered firms for the lucrative, possibly multi-million dollar contract is a change from last year, when the agreement was planned in private and then steered publicly to Zimmerman without any proposals from other firms.

Zimmerman signed a $2.1 million one-year contract in May 2015. Within months, Broward Health Commissioners agreed to expand Zimmerman’s contract to a six-year, $71.4 million agreement.

The Fort Lauderdale-based firm, its showcase headquarters off I-95 and its flamboyant founder Jordan Zimmerman were familiar to some commissioners and El Sanadi, who was instrumental in fashioning the no-bid deal.

Zimmerman is a Republican campaign contributor.  The seven commissioners who govern the tax-assisted health care system are all Republican activists appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, who also appointed El Sanadi, another heavy contributor to the Republican Party of Florida, to the Florida Board of Medicine.

Death before deal done

El Sanadi committed suicide Jan. 23, four days before the board was set to approve the deal. The deal, put on temporary hold in the wake of El Sanadi’s death, fell apart after FloridaBulldog.org first reported on the unusual advertising deal Feb. 16.

 

Now Broward Health’s original one-year contract with Zimmerman is winding down.

Jordan Zimmerman, left, advertising firm founder and Dr. Nabil El Sanadi, late chief executive of Broward Health

Jordan Zimmerman, left, advertising firm founder and Dr. Nabil El Sanadi, late chief executive of Broward Health

“The Zimmerman contract for $2.1M expires on May 4th.  Zimmerman continues to work on tactics on the marketing plan scheduled for the month of April,” Doris Peek, Broward Health’s director of marketing wrote in an e-mail.

The Zimmerman deal is one of several being examined by the Florida’s Chief Inspector General in an extensive probe of Broward Health’s contracts and the correspondence concerning them stretching back to July 2012.  In a separate investigation, a Fort the FBI and a Fort Lauderdale federal grand jury are gathering evidence of corruption in purchasing, according to numerous sources and public statements by staff and others.

Gov. Scott suspended former Broward Health Chair David Di Pietro and Commissioner Darryl Wright in March after Inspector General Melinda M. Miguel complained about interference with her probe.  A key supporter of the Zimmerman contract at Broward Health, Di Pietro won his commission job back in Broward Circuit Court, but resigned before an appeal by the governor could be heard.

Peek said she doesn’t know if Zimmerman will bid on the new contract, saying, “Zimmerman is welcome to respond and should they respond would be evaluated in the same manner as all other responding vendors.” Proposals are due to the Broward Health staff by 3 p.m. May 5, one day after Zimmerman’s contract ends.

Jordan Zimmerman did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment.

The cost and other terms of the new ad campaign will be negotiated between the firm chosen by staff and approved by commissioners. It will be based on what responding firms bid compared to a no-growth “flat” budget predicted by the financially challenged public health system next year, Peek said.  The firm winning the contract will get an annual retainer and a production fee.

New contract smaller

Firms are being told that the new contract will be less extensive than the one given Zimmerman.  That previous contract gave Zimmerman responsibility for media ad buying, outdoor and online media.  It also included a 15 percent commission on all clicks on digital ads.  These tasks have been removed from the new proposal and given back to staff.

Peek was insistent that any firm chosen will be required to show the advertising is working.  Zimmerman balked at including performance standards in that firm’s contract, but Peek called including them “common practice.”

The revamped contract is for “external brand awareness and service line promotions, development of media plans for Broward Health…and creative design of multi-media advertisements for all divisions of Broward Health,” the Request for Proposals states.

The winner will be expected to present Broward Health with “billing documentation including detailed invoicing from media outlets” and produce weekly status reports for health care executives.

Commissioner Canada said the hospital district has a new interim CEO, Pauline Grant, and a new dedication toward transparency in its business dealings.

“We’re resurrecting the marketing and communications contract in a transparent way,” she said. “We’re moving forward in a different direction.”

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Latest comments

  • first off cant believe the still call CEO Nabil El Sanadi death a suicide sorry couldn’t even get past that statement

  • Keep digging Fl. Bulldog, there’s more to this gangster operation.

  • “Advertising firms earlier this month were asked to provide ideas and potential budgets…”.. This is a very good thing. It’s how it should be done.

    However..

    “Peek was insistent that any firm chosen be required to show the advertising is working.” This makes no sense. Shouldn’t Peek know whether or not the new marketing campaign is working without the new ad agency having to tell her that. If I hire an ad agency, do I need them to tell me whether or not business is stable or picking up?

    Glad to see some improvement at BH, but they have a ways to go.

  • This is silly. Silly because no one of their own free will would choose a BH facility no matter how you advertise. Get over yourselves, BH is a third rate health care system making money off low tier managed care contracts, Medicaid and Medicare money not private payers.

    Hire a real marketing person at less money, Peek is a SVP making well over 225K per year, place a few ads and call it a day.

  • If you ask me, Zimmerman has already been paid too much. Goodbye and good riddance. That said, still don’t trust BH this governor, BOC and c-suite. Highly doubt, regardless of bidding show, that the contract won’t go to a crony at cost higher than necessary. It is BH’s modus operandi. With all this money going out of the system instead of being used to stabilize the internal system, where nurses need approval just to order a lousy box of pens, all the advertising in the world can’t hide the cracks in proper staffing and therefore safe care.

  • If Zimmerman was the fool who developed those laughable ad campaigns like “they just don’t know how to quit” while BH shady business was first being exposed then who needs the idiot! But I concur, qui tam, the bidding process at BH has always been shady so act 2 of this play yet to be seen.

  • Business has and can pick up by a number of ways. One way is performing medically unnecessary diagnostic tests and procedures. Buyer beware, always get a 2nd opinion outside BH. I believe Dr. Reilly who blew the whistle for violating the stark and antikickback laws previously mentioned he provided 2nd opinions and disagreed re: stated higher level of care needed. And beware potential upcoding, the way your claim is submitted and paid. Upcoding brings in higher reimbursement, and BH has already had to repay Medicare and Medicaid for such naughty behavior.

  • All these comments about BH being corrupt don’t make a patch on the corruption in our local government. Who got paid off for approving all the new buildings going up when we know our infrastructure is not in any condition to handle the numbers.
    As far as BH, it is not 2nd or 3rd rate. I’ve had several reasons to be treated there after surgeries and had my daughter taken there when she went into a diabetic coma. In all cases our care was first class. Wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. Dont put down this hospital because of the what some of the directors may have done wrong.

  • Sorry Jan. BH is far from first class though I’m glad your care was satisfactory. You must not be one of the uninsured or under insured for whom BH was holding back 25% of the contractual reimbursement rate from the employed physicians if they referred these patients to BH for care, the care our tax dollars is intended to support rather than going into the c-suites pockets as bonus incentives for cost savings. That was our $69.5 million tax funded money that BH paid the government for violating the stark and anti kickback acts. So as a fail safe health system, funded by tax payers to help care for these needy residents, do you still feel they received great care and BH is 1st class, or is it just providing better care to the well insured and if so, since money is to made there, might it be possible that care may not always be medically necessary or billed for higher rate of compensation than really provided seeing both Medicare and Medicaid have been reimbursed by BH for exactly that? And if pens require approval to be purchased, do you believe BH is necessarily purchasing the best patient care products or possibly the most economical at times? Wake up
    Jan.

  • Who are the c-suite?
    People who are victims of this whole mess.

    Where the true power and corruption lies is in the Govenors office and board which is directed by Rick Scott.

    If the focous is set upon the “c-suite” then RS and his co-horts will continue to do as they please,

    El Sinadi was a victim of his own ambition, once he back peddled he became a statistic, you dont double cross the Govenor. He giveth and taketh with vengeance as we’ve seen with recent board suspensions, anonymous complaints etc.

  • DT. I responded on wrong blog. I totally agree that rancid governor of ours is behind this along with that smarmy group of board mbrs. But if BH dinged the employed physicians 25% of their fees for referring under and uninsured patients that money had to go somewhere, and I’m sure some went to c-suite as bonus for saving money while profiteering off the tax payers dollars, never mind all of that money that came from questionable Medicare and Medicaid referrals. To me, most of the c-suite is and was pathetic, be it Nask, Breen, Fusco, and that Rick Scott toe sucking hag Barrett.

  • And let us not forget Echelard, former BH COO given option to resign with no speak bad about BH parachute severance who remains a board mbr with Catholic health services, which if Im not mistaken has an agreement with BH as part of their “ACO” which is not able to participate in the Medicare shared savings ACO program because of their 5-yr CIA for committing Medicare fraud!

  • In BH’s own words: “Broward Health In Seek of Marketing & Advertising Agency.”
    Ahem……BH, are you in search of, or are you seeking????

    Sent from

  • Please keep digging more corruption. Fraud with Medicare and Medicaid.
    This place needs to look closer. The poor taxpayers.

  • Wonder where Jordan Z is, if still circling the hen house waiting for opportune moment?

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