Stinging Criticism Of Broward Health Should Get Governor Rick Scott’s Attention








When the commissioner arguably closest to the governor resigns from the Broward Health governing board, change at the public hospital system can’t be far off.

Sheela VanHoose’s biting resignation letter on December 23 was a bombshell.


Sheela VanHoose


Sheela VanHoose



Since the resignation took place over the Holidays, the potential impact was largely ignored locally.

But Tallahassee has not ignored VanHoose’s highly critical two-page letter to Gov. Rick Scott, according to several sources.  

VanHoose wrote that Broward Health was being ruined by those with “self-serving and political agendas coated with infighting and grandstanding.”

She blasted the other commissioners as “an overtly political board.”

She noted accurately that Broward Health’s crippled governance did not start with Scott. As a reporter who covered the hospital system in the 1990s, I can confirm the problems date from the era when Democrats controlled the system.

Van Hoose pleaded with Scott that, “Our community deserves better…Save Broward Health.”


The letter is important because VanHoose, although only 30, has enormous clout in Tallahassee. She perhaps has the best access to Capital mover-and-shakers of anyone closely involved with Broward Health.

VanHoose earned her influence through hard work, not campaign contributions.

An early supporter of Scott, she was the Broward field director in his first 2010 campaign. She impressed Scott and those around him.

When Scott took control in Tallahassee, VanHoose as a special assistant to governor. A year later, she became Scott’s scheduling director.

A hometown gal who graduated from Nova Southeastern and Florida Atlantic Universities, VanHoose returned to Broward in July 2013 for another big job — Broward Public Schools’ chief staff lobbyist.

As a political operative for School Superintendent Robert Runcie, VanHoose was instrumental in getting the $800 million bond issue passed in 2014. After the election, she left the schools for another major résumé builder — lobbyist for Charter Schools USA.

Part of the politically formidable charter school industry, VanHoose is in Tallahassee regularly meeting with legislators and the governor’s office for her client. She is no doubt also telling lawmakers that a bill that would combine Broward Health into Memorial Healthcare System probably won’t work.


Fixing Broward Health


Memorial Healthcare System is the Hollywood-based public hospital district for the southern third of the county. A merger of the two public health systems would end a lot of duplication, but would saddle Memorial with Broward Health’s problems.

Problems include special monitoring of federal law compliance. This is part of a settlement with the Feds stemming from allegations that Broward Health violated anti-kickback statutes. In addition to the monitoring, Broward Health paid $70 million.

The politically cynical note another reason why the merger wouldn’t work.

Separate groups of physicians, lobbyists and staff at the two systems generate hundreds of thousands dollars in campaign contributions. Two hospital systems. Two huge bags of money.

Since most of these contributions end up with Republicans, Scott is unlikely to change the setups.

Still others suggest that Broward Health be privatized which would be a highly complex deal.

VanHoose has another simple idea which could be enacted this year. She says her plan would increase the accountability of Broward Health commissioners and thus help clean up the system.

“The governor should have the authority to appoint and remove Broward Health commissioners. Commissioners should serve at the will of the governor,” she told

Right now the governor appoints the commissioner and then has questionable ability to remove them.

Scott removed Browrd Health Commissioner David Di Pietro last year. A Broward Circuit Court judge ruled the governor couldn’t remove Di Pietro.

Under VanHoose’s proposal, a new law would state clearly that the governor has the ability to remove a commission who is not doing the job.

The Broward Health governing commission is currently accountable to no one, VanHoose said, adding,“I believe this is doable legislatively.”

She also suggests a gubernatorial task force which would “study and discuss with the community what is best in the future for the patients, doctors, staff and entire community” in terms of governing Broward Health.

What Scott has planned for Broward Health is buried for now within his gleaming bald dome. This whole mess is in his wheelhouse. Scott made made his multi-million dollar fortune forming and running the largest for-profit health care system in the nation, Columbia/HCA.  He knows the hospital business thoroughly.

There is no doubt among Republicans that VanHoose’s criticism has gained his attention.

If her letter ends up prompting Scott and lawmakers to change the way Broward Health is governed, it would be the start of fixing a dysfunctional system.

That’s a good thing.



The resignation letter:

VanHoose Resignation -- OneVanHoose Resignation -- 2

9 Responses to “Stinging Criticism Of Broward Health Should Get Governor Rick Scott’s Attention”

  1. 1/3 of my taxes goes to Broward Health says:

    I applaud Van Hoose’s actions and letter. The entire Board should be summarily terminated in favor of an honest, ethical person(s) that actually knows how to run a billion dollar healthcare entity. But isn’t the fact that Ms. Van House is on the District Board to begin with the underlying issue? Scott sees fit to appoint a 30 year old person with no relevant experience to run this billion dollar HEALTHCARE organization? Add in a real estate broker, a lawyer, and a stockbroker, and you’ve got the perfect assembly of talent to run one of the largest hospital districts in the Country. Scott should be ashamed of what has happened to Broward Health, and the Broward Commission and residents are equally to blame for letting it get to this level of ineptitude and corruption. There was a time NBMC’s revenues dwarfed S. Broward HD. Now we need S. Broward HD to bail us out. What a sad joke.

  2. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The Governor cannot say its Democrats or those who want him to fail complaining. If this Lady says its a cesspool. It is.

  3. calfloridia says:

    I for one am very proud of Sheela VanHoose She will have a bright future in Broward County and the State of Florida.

  4. John Henry says:

    Hmmmmmm. So she complains about the Board’s political grandstanding then writes a letter to the Governor that’s chalk full of political grandstanding?

    For future reference, we all now know that when times get tough, we can count on this girl to bail instead of pressing on to find a solution to the problem.

  5. Clean House says:

    General Counsel, Kevin Fusco and The Board need to be fired, they are the problem. They are firing lower level good leaders who challenge them.

  6. 4thepeople says:

    Open your eyes, Buddy. Sheela wolf in sheeps clothes. Too smart to get caught up in Sunshine lawsuit filed against the remaining BOC. Runs to daddy saying please help, essentially making Scott and self look innocent. Asks for “help,” while stating MHS-BH combining as one not the answer. So what is? Privatization, and given Scotts history, perhaps to friends with whom he blind trust investments with. Wake up Bud!

  7. Really clean house says:

    Yes, really let’s really clean house and remove the remaining leaders who are doing absolutely nothing. VP of HR who repeatedly ignored sexual harassment claims then gives a juicy severance package to the offender. Volumes can be said about the leadership in this organization and none of it good. They have been there too long. Change will happen only when change at the top takes place. Clean house and move forward.

  8. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    How many millionaires or pilutically powerfullobbists use Broward Health? Thats the root of the lack of actikn.

  9. Stormwatch says:

    Hamilton Forman must be spinning. Like a rotisserie chicken. Scott is figuring out how to get his private hands on all that public money. Vanhoose is one of his operatives.