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Hospital Board, Seat 2: Joseph J DeVirgilio Jr

Questions and answers with the candidates.

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  • | 12:30 p.m. October 11, 2018
  • Sarasota
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Why do you want to serve on the hospital board? I believe I can continue to contribute to the successful implementation of the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System strategy which will result in the continued expansion of the highest quality world-class medicine to all residents throughout Sarasota County.  My business and hospital board experience will ensure this strategy is implemented in a cost-effective manner, utilizing the tax dollars collected to reach to the ever expanding charity care needs.

What qualifies you to oversee the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System? I have served on the Public Hospital Board for the past 5 years.  I am currently the Chairperson.  I have led the HR, Investment and Quality Committees.  I am president of Suncoast Management Consultants and a senior consultant with River Consulting Group. Previously, I held a series of executive positions with the Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation in Poughkeepsie, NY. I also served for 12 years on a hospital board and foundation in Poughkeepsie before retiring in 2010.  I am currently a volunteer for the AARP, helping seniors in Venice with their taxes and a hurricane response volunteer for my community association. In addition, I have been a member and leader on numerous boards of community and business organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Hospice and Habitat for Humanity. I have received several honors for my service, including the Healthcare Trustees of New York State Award, the Poughkeepsie Area Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award and the Hospice Community Service Award. 

If elected, what do you believe should be the top priority of the board during your term? While continuing to deliver the highest quality in world class medicine, the following should be the top priorities over the next four years: Open the Laurel Road Hospital with birthing and cancer services; Open the Comprehensive Cancer Center with integrated cancer care and services; Attract the local physician base to support a future North Port hospital.

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? Yes.  The southern portion of Sarasota County’s access to world class medicine and excellent medical services is currently not available within a reasonable driving distance. This need will be initially addressed with SMH’s plans to build the Laurel Road Hospital and its long-term plan for a hospital in North Port.

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 am not supportive of this community strategy.  I have and will continue to support the continuation of publicly owned hospitals with its not-for-profit and safety-net approach to operations.  The taxes collected by the hospital and the revenues in excess of expenses provides the financial resources to provide healthcare services to those in financial need and expand services into areas of the community that are currently underserved.  Privatized hospitals are for-profit with their profits returned to shareholders as dividends.  Most of these shareholders are outside the community being served.  Additionally, the for-profit hospitals limit financial resources to upgrade facilities and limit their healthcare services to those that they can make a profit, leaving birthing and indigent care to other not-for-profit hospitals remote from these communities.



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