Ignorantia juris neminem excusat!
Appointed by Florida's Governor for their
active membership in Broward's Republican
party, Commissioners responsible for governing the North Broward Hospital District have
established an unfortunate history of dubious
accountability and due dilligence. JKdeG
#1 Although paid more than $600,000 as the CEO of Broward Health, nation's tenth largest public health care system, Frank Nask lacks a bachelor's degree from a fully accredited college, or university.
Further, while Nask's resume lists a bachelor's degree in business administration from either Fort Lauderdale Metropolitan University and/or Drake College -- neither institution was fully accredited at the time Nask graduated, nor is either school in business today.
The official Broward Health job description for the CEO of the billion dollar a year system requires Nask to show proof of "a Master's Degree and ten years of executive health care experience."
#2 Prior to joining the Broward Health as CFO in 2007, Nask's resume lists his status as a self-employed consultant -- this after losing his fulltime position as CFO of the jointly-operated* non profit St. Mary's and Good Samaritan hospitals in Palm Beach County. (*As Intracoastal Health Systems)
It was during Nask's tenure as CFO that St. Mary's and Good Samaritan suffered a fatal financial meltdown that led to their court-ordered sale to the for profit Tenet Health Care.
The Nask Years
1997 1998 1999 2000
Surplus (Loss) $6.9 million $3.2 million ($24.5 million ($42.8 million)
Surplus (Loss) $3.5 million $2.4 million ($0.8 million) ($29.1 million)
Surplus (Loss $10.4 million $5.6 million ($25.3 million) ($71.9 million)
Doing business as Intracoastal Health Systems, the two hospitals had outsourced their entire business office operation to IPN Network, a Tennessee based company operated by Nask's former co-workers at HCA (the Hospital Corporation of America then owned by Florida's current Governor Rick Scott).
"We are confident," Nask said at the time, "that our relationship with IPN will improve our receivables and bottom line."
In addition, Nask said, "IPN can help us streamline our operations, resulting in better service for our patients and ultimately reducing our operating costs."
However, an investigation by the Florida Attorney General's Office revealed that, in transferring their business office data to Network under Nask's direction, the two Palm Beach hospitals lost mega-millions in outstanding patient care billings -- this due to a catastrophic computer glinch.
Thus, when connected, the IPN Network's computer and the computers at St. Mary's and Good Samaritan trashed each other.
All of which endures as a cataclysmic metaphor of Nask's due diligence skills.
When deposed by Florida Attorney General's Office lawyers, members of the hospitals governing board of trustees claimed they'd never been informed of -- let alone approved -- the disastrous contract to outsource the two hospitals' business office systems.
#3 The North Broward Hospital District's governing Board of Commissioners first hired Nask as CFO of Broward Health and then as CEO of the giant tax funded health care system in each case without conducting a national search for other candidates for the key positions.
#4 In 2008, under Nask's leadership, the District retained and replaced three attorney's to serve as General Counsel for Broward Health: Laura Siedman, Troy Kishbaugh, and Marc Goldstone -- in each case the attorney was interviewed and approved by Nask and DIstrict HR VP Dionne Wong, Esq., a member of the Florida bar. However, again in each case, District officials became disatisfied with their choices and replaced them.
In a classic example of shooting the messenger, the District fired two of the system's three General Counsel's after the attorney's had warned Broward Health Officials of potential anti-trust Stark Law violations in the generous paychecks enjoyed by the system's hired physicians.
Note: During the past five years, the District has paid a Washington-based law firm more than $10 million to defend the District in the same Federal Anti-Trust Stark probe the District officials had been warned about.
In a negotiated settlement in response to with damage actions filed by the last two District legal advisors hospital officials dumped, officials paid:
- $175,000 in damages.
- $297,000 in legal fees.
#5 Charging Nask lacked the qualifications to serve as the District's CEO, a majority of the District Commissioners sought to remove the top administration -- a move that was foiled when the then Governor Charlie Crist restricted the Commission to create a new majority in support of Nask.
#6 FY 2009 also saw the District's governing Board of Commissioners hire Goren, Cheroff, Doody & Ezrol as the District's general counsel without issuing an RFP for more experienced law firms -- even though Goren et al lacked any experience in health care law. To date, Goren et all has been paid more than $4.7 million in tax dollars as the District's General Counsel.
#7 Following probable cause findings in response to an investigation of ethics violations by District Commssion Joseph Cobo, Goren's law firm authorized legal bills from an outside law firm the District's general counsel had retained to defend the Commissioner.
#8 Without issuing an RFP for other law firms experienced in representing health care systems in federal Stark Law violations, Goren, Cheroff, Doody & Ezrol has spent more than $17.7 million in tax dollars for outside counsel during the last five years.
#9 Under instructions from Nask, the District's governing Board of Commissioners spent some $1 million on a Still River Systems Clinatron for cancer patients at North Broward General Hospital -- even though the exotic cancer-fighting device was never purchased.
#10 Without issuing an RFP for competitive bids, the District spent more than $12.4 on exotic cancer fighting equipment for North Broward and Broward General.
Again, without seeking competitive bids from other physicians specializing in Oncology, Nask negotiated a contract with Broward Oncologist Dr. Anurag Agarwal to serve as director of the two cancer centers in 2009.
Then, again without seeking competitive bids, Nask negotiated a multi-million dollar contract with 21st Century Oncology to operate the two cancer centers in 2011 - while awarding Agarawal a cash settlement to exit quietly.
#11 In May of 2009, Nask executed a contract to outsourced the Hospice Unit at North Broward Hospital to Vitas Innovative Hospice Care, a for profit firm. This was done without issuing an RFP seeking competitive bids from other hospice firms, or obtaining approval from the District's governing Board of Trustees.
To gauge the impact of Nask's move to outsource the Hospice Unit at North Broward Medical Center, we find:
Total 2008 2013
Patient Encounters 21,339 12,422
#12 In a bold attempt to circumvent Florida's public records laws, Nask sought to "privatize" the tax-funded health care system under the guidance of the District's General Counsel Goren in 2010. However, after months of controversy and heated opposition from Broward's minority community, Nask's efforts were stymied by the then governing Board of Commissioners.
#13 Despite Nask's failed attempt to free Broward Health from Sunshine Law scrutiny, the District General Counsel routinely redacts key details -- including dollar amounts -- from multi-million contracts with outside firms requested under Florida's Sunshine Laws.
#14 Without issuing RFP's for competitive bids from other providers, or formal approval from the District's governing board of Commissioners, Nask annually negotiates contracts (currently totaling some $63.3 million) with an unknown number of private physicians hired to provide uninsured patient care at Broward Health.
#15 Mandated by Florida's legislature, an independent audit found that -- minus the North Broward Hospital District's tax revenue -- the health care system's assets were well below fair market value.
#16 Broward Health faces potential fines and penalties in excess of $100 million as the target of a still on-going Federal anti-trust investigation launched some five years ago.
#17 After seven controversial years under Nask's leadership, the North Broward Hospital District has experienced a major decrease in health system revenue coupled with an increased dependence on revenue from interests and investments. Not that any of the District's governing Board of Commissioners are aware of these negative trends -- or their long range significance.
Fiscal Year 2007 2013 %
Adjusted Admissions 105,810 119,223 13%
System Revenue $75,758,608* $17,580,974
Per Adj. Admission $716 $147 (79%)
Interest & Investment
Revenue $24,654,257* $32,995,547
Per Adj. Admission $233 $277 19%
Surplus (Loss) $100,412,865* $50,576,521
Per Adj. Admission $949 $424 (55%)
Where's a Grand Jury when you need one?
The Jebster The Rockster
Politics is a smarmy game – as evidenced by the cruel rumors surrounding the politics behind the appointment of Rocky Rodriguez as the newest member of the Board of Commissioners charged with governing the North Broward Hospital District (dba Broward Health) – currently the nation's tenth larger public health care system.
Rodriguez, of course, is no stranger to rumors -- having risen to defend Broward Health CEO Frank Nask against slings and arrows of certain mystery rumors which the Rockster failed to disclose.
The vicious rumors surrounding Rodriguez?
Rumor mongers in the sleazy backrooms of Broward politics are claiming Florida Governor Rock Scott appointed the Rockster after a phone call from former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
True the Rocky-Bush liaison has been a deep and lasting one.
However, the rumor mongers are also claiming that Rodriguez – like the other Scott appointees to the District's governing commission – has no experience in health care.
Which is totally false.
And potentially libelous.
From 1969 through 1994, Rodriguez served as an assistant manager of a now defunct drug store on Fort Lauderdale's Sunrise Boulevard.
Which – aside from their membership in Broward's Republican party – clearly provides the Rockster's with health care bona fides far superior to any of the other five politically appointed Commissioners governing the giant tax funded health care system.
Small wonder, then, given his health care experience, Rodriguez has become one of District CEO Frank Nask's strongest and most vocal supporter on the Commission.
Upon leaving his executive position as assistant manager of a drug store, Rodriguez joined the Broward Property Appraiser's Office – based on his years of service in the local Republican Party coupled with his status as a fully qualified 1983 graduate of Fort Lauderdale's Gold Coast real estate School.
Following the death of Broward Property Appraiser William Markham, then Governor Jeb Bush named the Rockster acting Property Appraiser in 2004 until, several months later, voters chose current Property Appraiser Lori Parrish in the next General Election – following which Rocky resigned to pursue a full-time career in real estate.
Finally, for those few dark souls seeking to smear Rocky Rodriguez' proven reputation as an American Extraordinaire, we offer the following testimony from the Rockster himself concerning his long-time deep devotion to the Grand Old Party:
"I am a proud Republican because it is the GOP who (sic) teaches the individual not to depend on a bureaucracy and promotes entrepreneurship and self achievements (sic).
"It is the GOP who (sic) understands that the best government is smaller and closer to the people and it is the GOP who (sic) is the party of less taxes, less regulation and promotes more individual freedom."
Okay. So the Rockster has "issues" with adjectives. But not with his love for the GOP.
As citizens loyal to Cuban President Fulgencio Batista, the Rockster's family was forced to flee their native land after the brutal Dictator and his associate Meyer Lansky were deposed by the brutal Dictator Fidel Castro and his associate Che.
Once in Florida, Rodriguez says, “I found a home away from home with the GOP and I am here to stay.”
Which clearly suggests the Rockster had found a unique gestaltic similarity between Batista's Cuba versus Florida's GOP.
During his few months as Broward's acting Property Appraiser, the Rockster used tax dollars to purchase increased benefits from the state retirement fund -- thus enriching his golden years as a refugee "home away from home".
District General Counsel
Goren, Cherof, Doody &