McKee resigns from Broward Health Board
McKee resigns from Broward Health Board
By Staff Writer
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — In a move that stunned the North Broward health care community, Clarence McKee, the only African-American on the Board of Commissioners of the North Broward Hospital District (d/b/a) “Broward Health”), announced at last week’s board meeting that he was resigning from the Board effective Feb. 1.
In his letter accepting McKee’s resignation, Governor Rick Scott thanked McKee for his service saying “I am aware of the time you have spent as a board member and appreciate the sacrifices you have made on behalf of the people of Florida.”
McKee was appointed to the Board, one of the most sought after and prestigious of Gubernatorial appointments-by former Governor Charlie Crist in January of 2010 to complete the term of his District 1 predecessor which ended in December. “I accepted the appointment with the understanding that I would only serve for that period” McKee said. He added, “Accordingly, I advised Governor Scott weeks ago that I would not stand for reappointment and, so that I would not have to remain on the Board until he appointed a successor, I also submitted my resignation effective Feb. 1.
During his tenure, McKee gained the reputation for being somewhat of a ‘Maverick” and was initially the only Commissioner to oppose privatizing Broward Health when it was first proposed two years ago. “I just felt that we needed to do extensive due diligence to see if such a move was in the best interests of our physicians, staff, patients and the communities we serve” he said. The Board later reversed itself and agreed with McKee’s original position.
More recently, McKee opposed changing the name of Broward General Medical Center because of the history and reputation of its brand and removing the term “Medical Center” from the other three Broward Health hospitals. Sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Westside Gazette that McKee has been an advocate for transparency and staff account-ability, especially on the issue of Board review of physicians and consultant contracts. “He has really been our advocate and we will miss his voice” one physician said.
During his tenure, McKee served as Chairman of the Legal Review Committee and as Chairman of the Board’s Governance Committee. He was also the Board’s representative on the Community Relations Council, Chaired by Broward Health Vice President Jasmine Shirley, which works with the Board’s Community health services including home care, school and related community outreach programs. “Serving on the Council has been one of the highlights of my service. It gives an opportunity to report to the community on our efforts and listen to viewpoints,” he said.
McKee further stated: “Serving on the Board has given me an understanding and insight into the issues facing our health care system and the importance of having a ‘safety net’ for de-livery of quality care to patients, especially to the poor and uninsured. I have become very aware of the needs of physicians for adequate Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement and the issues facing both public and private hospitals as we go through transition under ‘Obamacare’ and the expansion of Medicaid. I am looking forward to being involved in such issues which present opportunities and challenges to providers, physicians and patients alike.”
In addition to his service on the Broward Health Board, McKee served five years on the 17th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission before opting not to seek reappointment there as well.
McKee’s departure gives Scott the opportunity to totally restructure the Board.
With McKee leaving, there are six remaining Commissioners, four of whom were appointed by Crist: Miquel “Mike Fenandez, whose term expired in 2011; Joel Gustafson, Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, and Richard Paul-Hus whose terms expire this June. The other two, David Di Pietro and Debbie Kohl, are Scott appointees. Hence Scott has the option of either reap-pointing the four Crist Commissioners or replacing all of them giving his appointees total control of the Board. Sources say that in the latter scenario, Di Pietro and Kohl would most likely become Chair and Vice Chair respective based on their seniority.