Broward Health’s new CEO sees better path for the health system

On Monday, Broward Health CEO Gino Santorio walked the halls of Florida’s Capitol, letting state legislators know how important critical care funding is to his healthcare system that serves two-thirds of the county.

Santorio’s task will be to convince legislators that his hospital system — and others like it in Florida — need the budgeted $318 million to treat Medicaid’s sickest patients who could not otherwise pay for care. Broward Health is one of 14 safety-net hospitals in Florida and would lose anywhere from $3.5 to $15.2 million under a current Senate plan to change the existing reimbursement structure.

“There is a high-cost structure to provide care to our most critically ill patients,” Santorio said in a March 26 interview with the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “Our job is to educate legislators on the pressing needs in our hospitals and across the industry. These are real people with complicated conditions that rely on the comprehensive, complex care we provide.”

Santorio’s efforts in Tallahassee for Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida’s “Day on the Hill” come as he simultaneously works to restore stability to Broward Health, also known as the North Broward Hospital District. As CEO since December, and acting CEO since October, Santorio, known for his expertise in turnaround management, has steered the health care system in a new direction. Broward Health had experienced several tumultuous years of highly publicized management and physician turnover, criminal charges against board members, and misspending. The criminal charges were dismissed last month by a federal judge.

Santorio says he has focused on improving Broward Health’s financial condition and spending money where patients see a difference. “Every dollar we are able to save is a direct reinvestment back to this community,” he said.

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