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Sarasota Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018 3 years ago

Hospital Board, Seat 1: Jim Meister

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Candidate questions and answers.

Why do you want to serve on the hospital board? Appointed to SMH board in 2015, elected in 2016 to finish term of former board member that I replaced. Would be honored to have voters elect me to a full four year term this year.

What qualifies you to oversee the Sarasota Memorial Health Care system? Resident of Sarasota for 20 years; retired CEO of Kings Super Markets, Inc., NJ,  owned by Marks and Spencer, plc; former Board Member of Sygen International, plc, Oxford England ; Current Chairman of Finance Committee, SMH and current Chairman of Investment Committee, SMH; member of Finance Committee Senior Friendship Center.

If elected, what do you believe should be the top priority of the board during your term? As a Board member, responsible for SMH maintaining a sound financial plan that represents the tax payers, grow our mission of providing services that excel in caring, quality and innovation and insure that SMH is the best place to be a patient, practice medicine and to work.

Given that the system is adding a hospital in Venice, do you think continued expansion is necessary to handle the growth in South Sarasota County? Our decision to build a new hospital in Venice was predicated on our main campus operating at full capacity, particularly in the winter months. Our new Laurel Road hospital will allow us to better serve the Venice-North Port communities with more accessible and convenient healthcare. Our long range plan is to build a hospital in North Port when there is the required number of physicians practicing in that market to ensure our success. The Board recently approved the construction of a Cancer Institute on our main campus which will provide a comprehensive facility for diagnostic, surgical and chemo services for the treatment of cancer patients. We plan on breaking ground for both new facilities early next calendar year

What is your position on what other communities are doing — selling and privatizing the hospital system and using the proceeds in a community foundation? I pledge to keep SMH a public not for profit hospital serving our residents and not the shareholders of a for profit company. We are celebrating 93 years of being a community hospital and I would be honored be part of the team of over 6000 associates who strive for excellence every day!

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