Category: News

Indian River County Hospital District Positioning Itself for State of Florida’s Review of District

July 11, 2023

Vero Beach, Fla (IRN) – At the June 15th, 2023 Indian River County Hospital District Business Meeting, Executive Director Ann Marie Suriano announced the District has been looking for an independent firm to conduct a state-required performance review of the District.

Under Florida Statute, Hospital Districts in Florida are required starting October 1st, 2023, to hire an independent firm to conduct the performance review every five years.

The performance review will evaluate the programs, activities, and functions of the District and compare it to similar as provided by other Independent Districts, such as Hospital Districts. The review will also provide recommendations for where the District can improve upon and assess the overall performance of the District.

Currently, the District is considering the use of BJM, which operates in both Georgia and Florida. Four other firms have been found that could take the contract to do the performance review.

A representative from BJM spoke at the Hospital District’s June 15th, 2023 monthly meeting. He had spoken about the process of doing the performance review, his firm’s experience doing performance reviews of special districts like the IRCHD, and answering questions from the IRCHD Board Members.

The BJM representative said if the IRCHD were to go ahead and give the contract to his firm, two auditors with 40+ years of experience from Tampa would be conducting the performance review of the IRCHD.

IRCHD Chairman Marybeth Cunningham (Seat 1) was adamant about asking about the qualifications of BJM to ensure they can handle and properly conduct the performance review. She also speculated the performance reviews are probably happening due to some districts not being as careful about the use of their taxpayer funds.

“I’m looking forward to the performance review of the District,” said IRCHD Board Member Paul Westcott (Seat 4) in a statement to Indian River News. “Specifically, I am looking forward to any exploration of the District’s ongoing responsibilities in oversight of Cleveland Clinic and the Hospital. The Special Act creating the District contains language regarding hospital staffing and rulemaking for facilities owned by the District.”

Section 11 of the Special Act gives authority for the IRCHD to regulate the Hospital currently being leased by Cleveland Clinic in Vero Beach and any other health facilities the District may own that provide health services. Conduct of employees and patients is also governable by the IRCHD per Section 11.

Section 12(1) allows for patients to, at their own expense, hire their own doctor or dentist, while being treated at the Hospital owned by the IRCHD.

Section 12(2) of putting together a staff of doctors and dentists who qualify under the rules and regulations set by the IRCHD.

Click here to view an excerpt the Special Act that created the Indian River County Hospital District in 1959; the excerpt shows Sections 11, 12(1) and 12(2).

The Indian River County Hospital District was established in 1959 by a special act of the Florida State Legislature to manage the then Indian River Memorial Hospital, which today is the Cleveland Clinic Hospital in Vero Beach, Florida. The District also helps to fund indigent care, which essentially means funding healthcare for those who cannot afford healthcare in Indian River County.

Management of the Hospital has since been turned over to Cleveland Clinic under a 30 year lease with 3, 15 year extensions at the sole discretion of Cleveland Clinic.

The IRCHD’s Board consists of seven members-at-large elected Indian River County residents.

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