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Broward Health begins lobbyist registration – 12 years and millions in contracts late

By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org 

Broward Health's corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale

Broward Health’s corporate headquarters in Fort Lauderdale

Broward Health’s long-lost lobbyist registration policy is, at last, resurrected. Lobbyists looking to influence district policy or the award of profitable contracts must now publicly identify themselves and their clients.

Six lobbyists have registered since the program began Sept. 12 – all representatives of large, out-of-state pharmaceutical or hospital and medical supply companies like Sandoz, Genentech and Carefusion.

Who to watch out for going forward: politically connected local lobbyists like William “Billy” Rubin and Fred Karlinsky, who’ve operated behind the scenes at Broward Health in the past.

Rubin is a confidant of Gov. Rick Scott. Karlinsky was co-chair of Scott’s 2014 statewide campaign finance committee. The governor appoints the board of commissioners that governs the billion-dollar public health system whose legal name is the North Broward Hospital District.

FloridaBulldog.org reported in May that for 12 years Broward Health had ignored its own lobbyist registration rules, adopted in 2004, allowing lobbyists to operate freely behind the scenes.

That was news to Broward Health’s current board of commissioners.

Broward Health Chairman Rocky Rodriguez and Commissioner Sheela VanHoose

Broward Health Chairman Rocky Rodriguez and Commissioner Sheela VanHoose

Said Chairman Rocky Rodriguez, “You assume these things are being taken care of.” Said Commissioner Sheela VanHoose, who spent two months on the board’s legal affairs committee holding workshops to establish a lobbying policy, “It was a little shock to see.”

Broward Health CEO Pauline Grant announced in May that registration would begin in June, but it took much of the summer to actually get a system in place.

The revised rules require lobbyists to pay an annual $40 fee for each client “before any advocacy can take place.” Lobbyists must declare under oath that the information they provide is “true and correct.” That includes their yes or no response to this question: “Do you have any direct or indirect business association, partnership or financial relationship or live in the same household with or are related to any Broward Health board member, board committee member, employee or agent?”

So far, no lobbyist has answered yes.

Lobbyists must also file annual expenditure reports under oath “disclosing each lobbying expenditures [sic] to any person or entity,” including such items as food and beverage, travel and entertainment expenses. Those reports, however, don’t have to be filed until the July 30 of the fiscal year after registration, so they will likely not be timely.

Unlike the Florida Legislature, the district does not require lobbyists to disclose how much they are being paid to lobby.

The district’s revised lobbying policy forbids “lobbyists and lawyers” from lobbying any Broward Health board members, employees or agents “during the consideration of any contracts and contract negotiations and related discussions. This prohibition shall include, but not be limited to, physician contracts, professional service contracts, services contracts, design-build contracts and construction contracts.”

A list of registered lobbyists is published online.

Broward Health awarded many multi-million dollar contracts during the years its lobbying policy was not enforced. One of the biggest, and most unusual, was an unprecedented 25-year, no-bid deal in 2012 that outsourced the district’s radiation oncology services to 21st Century Oncology, the Fort Myers-based cancer care company.

FloridaBulldog.org reported in February that at the time of the deal Gov. Scott had an indirect ownership interest in 21st Century Oncology via his $210,000 investment in Vestar Capital Partners, the private equity firm that owns 21st Century.

The governor’s office has said Scott had “no conversation or contact about Vestar Capital or 21st Century Oncology with the North Broward Hospital District.”

Still, Scott’s good friend, lobbyist Billy Rubin, has lobbied at the district and counts 21st Century Oncology among his clients, according to the website of his firm, The Rubin Group.

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Latest comments

  • Let the games begin. By the way does anybody know who the candidates are for CEO of Broward Health. As employees we are totally kept in the dark

  • Dear Sick of It,
    We employees are left in the dark because Lynn Barrett controls The Board and is really the acting President/CEO. We all know that those who try to control others eventually implode. I’ll guess she isn’t any nicer on the inside.

    Here are the candidates-
    Timothy J. Harlin, Robert E Kelly, Vincent L. Johnson,Christopher T. Olivia, Christopher R. Mosley, Brett S. McClung.

    I pray that The Board selects someone Lynn cannot manipulate.

  • Ha, I admit North and I want this new CEO to come in and clean house especially the nursing department CNO I see nurses leaving at an alarming rate and complications increasing Who wants to admit to a hospital with agency nurses, regular nurses unhappy and my patients complaining, worst complications are high. Enough is enough, anyone from BH reading this take note, it is rumored that 400K of tax payers money spent on agency nurses. More examples of poor management , Holy Cross and HCA are looking good

  • Hey Cowboy MD!
    Most nurses leave because Cowboy docs treat them badly. In case you haven’t noticed there is a nursing shortage. HCA uses agency and Holy Cross has defecting doctors, they would love you. Yes go there Cowboy and ride off into the sunset.

  • Ha ha ha I am laughing my socks off here
    This is hilarious
    Seriously they can have HCA and the other hospitals around I like working at north the nurses are good they provide excellent care and are top notch !
    We all know the cowboys let’s hope they all take off to the sunset and let us care for the important person the patients instead of all this garbage written about good hospitals
    Calm RN well said

  • Sheila van loose as a goose is in bed with Dick Scott. Her policy is a joke. BH board members, executives, and physicians who serve as politicians instead of practicing medicine will do what El Sanadi did with so much class; they will meet with lobbyists at the Waffle House next to the hourly motel or some other off the beaten path dump so as not to be seen, or just spend an enormous amount of time in Tallahassee as Rocky Raccoon and Christ Urine know do too well. Yes, Lynn the Barracuda is a louse but so are all of the others. Nothing will change with regard to lobbyists and dirty politics. As for staff leaving, nurses and other clinical and non clinical staff can only do better elsewhere. Doctors, if you think driving up your RVUs quickly so you can take the summer off with pay is not a great deal, if you think your top percentile of FMV income is insufficient while you spend lots of time earning additional income from sidebar affiliations, or you just plain hate that BH lets you get away with murder, e.g., the doc who earned additional income for serving as medical director and did so by going to the gym (perhaps with Zimmerman, that pumped up mirror image), then please, resign and go elsewhere. Like the three stooges you too will be begging to come back. As for all the truly caring docs, NSU looking good!

  • LMAO. Someone needs to write about the Shit Show called the CEO search. It’s a mess but then again what do you expect.

  • If it is true half a million on agency staff is a disgrace in anyone’s language
    i would ask for an enquiry Van Loose what does tricky dicky think about this ?
    400k of tax payers monies on agency no this is not right

  • What honorable or talented CEO would WANT to come to BH? Are you kidding me? Until CMS and the Feds start locking thieves up BH can expectedly continue to defraud healthcare just like Tenet, currently in big trouble with the Feds, because they know damn well they can steal $10M but only have to pay back a small percentage as part of a “settlement.” And lobbyists assuredly are NOT signing in but you can bet the board does business with them routinely, especially Rocky and Chris. Amazing the OIG has done nothing since they got their slice of pie. Firing our VP of Corp Compliance should have sent tidal waves crashing on their doors!

  • Medical Staff. What’s your relationship with BH and BHN? Are you a chief of staff? Medical Director? Owner or partner in a group practice with a lucrative contract paying you beyond Medicaid, Medicare, or indigent reimbursement? Employed by BH at 95th percentile of FMV with perks? Are you employed by any of the vendors who give generously to Rick Scott’s campaign?

  • I agree. Who in their right mind would come to Broward Health to leave this system with all the crooked and incompetent executives. It’s a complete Ship of Fools that you would have to work with. Whoever comes in is desperate utterly desperate.
    Doris Peek has completely ruined Information Systems. She is mean, vicious,calculating ill-mannered and words I cannot even mentioned in this post. The employees cannot stand working in that department and only put up with it because they need a job. The human resources department led by Ms. Wong is a complete and total disgrace. It is a department of fear and retaliation no one in any region can go to HR and say that they are safe. The compliance Department under Donna Lewis was a complete sham. If it was not for her relationship with Miss Grant she would have been let go months or even years ago
    Broward Health has been run into the ground and there is no man or woman on this earth that can save it

  • Dear Sick of it:
    Why don’t you leave? You obviously have a problem with well educated women who have high performing teams.

  • dan I called snipes office and they have no voter fraud section or person, they give u a number for Tallahassee and the latter says they will e mail a form to fill out, amazing

  • I’m astonished (although perhaps I shouldn’t be) that one of the final candidates for CEO (Christopher Olivia) is a serious consideration. Someone needs to peel back the onion and really look into what happened when he took the leadership reigns at the health system he “led” in Pittsburgh. He led it directly into the ground, on the verge of bankruptcy, forcing a sale to the largest insurer in the market. He closed a hospital with over a 100 year history, only to determine that was a mistake, and then reopened it. He spent money on executive salaries for his cronies like a drunken sailor. There was no substance behind the smooth talk- but he made sure he walked away with a +$7.5 million severance package. How do you think the taxpayers of Broward County would like that?

  • @Huge. What’s the difference, that is what is going on now. Incompetence. Cronyism, a breath away from closing. Nothing new here my dear

  • Doris Peek has been checked out from IT for years now. She has no idea what is going on in IT. She is far removed from the Department. Also, she recently promoted an inexperienced individual that was an IT manager for 1 year into a technical director position. What does an industrial engineer know about IT??? This promotion was based on the fact that they were buddies outside of work. There is a lack of leadership and vision in IT because Doris has zero leadership skills.

  • Diversified and Ure did not do a good job investigating the circumstances around Olivia’s exit from West Penn Allegheny. He has not led a hospital system yet. How on earth did someone who hired unqualified friends and financially ruin a health system make it to the top 3 ?

    See story below:
    It pays to walk away from West Penn Allegheny Health System.

    Just ask Christopher Olivia, the health system’s CEO until he resigned in June 2011.

    Olivia was paid $6 million by the financially hurting hospital network for the 12 months ended June 30, 2012, according to tax returns released on Tuesday.

    In the previous year, his last at the helm of West Penn Allegheny, Olivia was paid $7.4 million. By comparison, UPMC CEO Jeffrey Romoff earned $6 million that year. UPMC is expected to make public its 2012 tax returns this week.

    Olivia declined to comment, citing a confidentiality agreement in his severance package.

    Officials with West Penn Allegheny declined to comment.

    Olivia joined the five-hospital system in March 2008 and oversaw three years of heavy financial losses. In the last two years, when his compensation totaled $13.4 million, West Penn Allegheny reported a combined $164.3 million loss from operations and a combined net loss of $17.4 million.

    His compensation last year included base pay of $677,905, bonus of $2.5 million, other compensation of $930,000, retirement and deferred compensation of $1.88 million, and other benefits of $10,553.

    Cathy Stoddard, president of the SEIU nurses union at Allegheny General Hospital, declined to comment on Olivia’s pay, but said she was glad to have a new CEO.

    “It’s a brand new day,” she said, referring to the acquisition

  • I hear this is a serious contender for new CEO at BH. Match made in heaven?

    Christopher Olivia, MD, former president and CEO of Pittsburgh-based West Penn Allegheny Health System, received $7.4 million in total compensation, benefits and severance in 2010 — his last year as the chief of the financially beleaguered health system, according to a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report.

  • Dear ? Why don’t YOU leave BH? Based on your post it is obvious you are part of the problematic culture. Do the tax payers in this county a favor. Quit your job. Move to another state.

  • I agree, Awkward Moment. Good leaders LISTEN to front line staff and given the state of BH, ? is obviously part of the culture that is destroying the health system and should be the one to go. Friend interviewed with HCA. The interviewer reportedly said they thought BH had already closed and that HCA was buying the health system. Some interview! So if this deal is in the works, WHY is BH collecting tax money from home owners?????? Last and final scam????

  • I don’t know if I am a lone wolf or share the same opinion with others but here goes nothing.

    I have worked at BH for many years. I have seen the executive staff at corporate and all four hospitals change over several times. Personally, until the past 8-10 years it has been a wonderful place to work. As an employee, I felt my opinion really mattered, patients came first and finances while important, we not the primary focus. At some point, the management incentive plan was implemented and I feel this was the beginning of the end. Greed, manipulation and financial rape of the organization took precedence over care of patients and employees.
    Executives received bonuses of 30 – 40 thousand per year and were incentivized to keep finances in check at all costs or no new car that year. If the numbers did not jive the books were manipulated to meet the criteria. The boards and there were several over the years were led to believe these bonuses were in line with the marketplace by outside consultants who provided market data which was also manipulated to weigh in the favor of large payouts. Tens of millions of dollars were granted to executives, managers who did not have a single employee to mange and others who were had no direct reports. To me, this started the greed train down the track. When the train got rolling nothing could stop it. Employees bonuses were a mere few days pay, the annual performance appraisal increases shrunk each year as the management bonuses grew. Come every May we could not order supplies for patient care, we were forced to work overtime and not compensated all to meet the budget so bonuses could be paid.

    I believe in my heart EVERY VP, executive and director is guilty of where we are now. Those who manipulated the finances, those who took consultant data and either manipulated it or disguised it to make it look favorable to line thier pockets are all to blame. I am sure they started out as a team with a vision but the vision has been severely compromised and trust has been damaged for good.

    I am a nobody not a person anyone would really care about. I come to work every day to feed my family. The only way I can do this is to be hopeful. I hope these people are replaced, I hope the ship can be turned around, I hope we have a job in the future but must important…I hope and pray these executives are let go with no severance packages, no health insurance for a year and are treated exactly like I would if I was let go. These people are nothing more than thieves, stealing from the community, the patients and employees.

    Whoever takes over or whatever happens to BH, let it be without this group. They have done enough already. What could be worse? Maybe someone should publish a list by name of how many thousands of dollars each executive, director and manager corporate and hospital received over the past ten years, it would blow your mind.

  • How about some article or discussion regarding the interim CCO only staying a month – even with having a working relationship with Lynn Barret – knowing it’s dirty?

  • No question about it, Anonymous. OIG should be pounding down the door. Tricky Ricky appointed a new board member today. He does nothing out of kindness!

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