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Sarasota Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010 4 years ago

HOSPITAL BOARD: Candidates differ on expansion policy

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by: Robin Roy City Editor

Only one of six hospital board seats up for grabs is on the primary election ballot Aug. 24. The two candidates agree on the millage rate, but have different views over a possible expansion into Manatee County.

While the hospital board may not be the election race that grabs the most headlines, the board does have a significant say in how taxes are collected. With bad debt on the rise, the hospital board will most likely face a debate next year over whether to raise the millage rate to make up the difference. That’s one of main issues that the new board member in seat one of the Southern District will have to help decide.

MEET THE CANDIDATES
Darryl Henry
Age: 65
Family: Married with two sons and one grandson
Education: Computer science degree from University of Maryland
Career: Retired program director at U.S. Department of Defense

What are the top priorities facing the hospital system?
Key priorities are recruitment and retention of top-quality doctors, nurses and support personnel; building community confidence in and support for our hospital system by providing equitable service to all parts of the county; and cost control.

Why do you want to be on the hospital board?
Having spent six months as a patient in Sarasota Memorial Hospital, I have a unique perspective as to the needs of all patients. I have experience in administering large budgets and in working with people from a variety of countries and backgrounds.

What is the role of the hospital board?
Policy setting, governance and goal setting.

Bad debt is up 24% over a year ago, because more people are not paying for services. In the past few years, the millage rate has covered the bad debt almost exactly. Do you agree with raising the millage rate to continue to cover bad-debt expense?
Currently, I oppose raising the millage rate. One action the SMH system needs to take is to educate and encourage citizens, so they will choose SMH rather than other hospitals like those in Charlotte County, thus keeping the funds in Sarasota County.

What’s your opinion of Sarasota Memorial operating a facility in Heritage Harbor in Manatee County?
The hospital system needs to meet the needs of (Sarasota County) residents fully, before expanding into another county. For example, North Port needs a hospital.

Levko Klos
Age: 51
Family: Single
Hometown: Lorain, Ohio
Education: Psychology degree from Pacific Lutheran University
Career: Supervised group long-term care program for Aetna; director of insurance for California Federal Bank

What are the top priorities facing the hospital system?
The most important issue is financial. The hospital must maintain its strong financial position, so that it can maintain its bond rating, as well as provide the services it does throughout the system.

Why do you want to be on the hospital board?
My educational background and experience as a senior executive in the insurance industry give me a unique perspective on key hospital issues.

What is the role of the hospital board?
To set policy and strategic direction for the hospital. It also gives the CEO strategic objectives to meet on the operational side of the hospital.

Bad debt is up 24% over a year ago, because more people are not paying for services. In the past few years, the millage rate has covered the bad debt almost exactly. Do you agree with raising the millage rate to continue to cover bad-debt expense?
I would not favor an increase in the millage rate for the upcoming year. The larger issue of “bad debt” will always be of concern to the hospital, as it helps those individuals pay for services that they may not be able to afford.

What’s your opinion of Sarasota Memorial operating a facility in Heritage Harbor in Manatee County?
SMH is the only public hospital in a four-county area. Helping a community meet the needs of its residents with a facility such as Heritage Harbor is a venture I support.
 

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