Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Sarasota Hospital Board At Large Seat 2: Tramm Hudson

Meet the candidate.

  • By
  • | 7:15 a.m. September 25, 2020
  • Sarasota
  • News
  • Share

Name: Tramm Hudson 

Age: 67 

Family: Married for 36 years to Sarah Thompson Hudson; three adult children and four grandchildren. 

Bio: Tramm Hudson is a retired Sarasota banker, U.S. Army officer and well-known community leader. A resident of Sarasota since 1986, Hudson has held a number of diverse leadership positions, including a founder and former president of Enterprise National Bank, chairman of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, trustee of Manatee Community College, chairman of The Out-of-Door Academy, chairman of the Committee of 100, past elder in his church and board member for the United Way, among others. Hudson is a director of Trust Companies of America and Caldwell Trust Company in Venice. He is currently an elected member of the Sarasota Memorial Public Hospital Board and serves as chairman of the Audit Committee and the Investment Committee. 

Hudson has been influential in the political arena, serving three terms as chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota County and as a delegate and alternate delegate to the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Republican National Conventions. In 2005, he served as chairman of Workforce Florida, the governor-appointed board that oversees labor and job training programs statewide, and in 2006 was a Republican candidate for Congress in Florida's District 13. 

A native of Montgomery, Ala., Hudson graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1975 as a distinguished military graduate. He served as a Cavalry officer in Germany for three years and continued in the Army Reserves after his active duty service. He commanded an Infantry Company in the early 1980s as well as served in several staff positions at the battalion and brigade levels. He retired from the Army Reserve as a lieutenant colonel in 1996. Hudson earned an MBA from Emory University in Atlanta. 


Why are you running for office? 

I am running for my second term on the board to continue my commitment to represent the citizens of Sarasota County in ensuring the highest quality health care for our community. I believe in term limits, and this will be my last term if reelected. I would like to see to completion my three priorities as described below. 

What are three priorities you hope to accomplish if elected? 

  1. The SMH Hospital Board should continue to focus on the financial management of the hospital system to insure its viability over the next decade and beyond. Additionally, the board should exercise judicious tax stewardship over the taxing authority and millage rate. We should continue to reduce the reliance on tax dollars to support the hospital operations as a percent of overall revenue. 
  2. In the near term we need to bring online the new Venice Hospital on budget and on time for opening in late 2021. This will improve access to quality health care for the citizens in South Sarasota County. Likewise, the cancer institute and new cancer wing at Sarasota Memorial Hospital need to be similarly brought online successfully in 2021. 
  3. There is now a pending doctor shortage forecast for 2032. Since I have been on the board, SMH has launched an aggressive regional physician recruitment and retention program. The new residency programs in internal medicine, emergency medicine and hospice and palliative care will ease physician shortages. I plan to provide support to this recruitment campaign to ensure the potential shortage is met. 

Compared to other not-for-profit hospital companies nationwide, Sarasota Memorial’s operating margins — 7.3% — are more than 3 times better than the national average. What, if anything, would you suggest the hospital and hospital board should be doing differently to improve the hospital system’s nationally recognized operations? 

If it is not broken, don’t fix it. SMH has a strong financial foundation, and our balance sheet and credit rating are stellar. Our fundamentals, such as days cash, on hand are strong. The COVID-19 pandemic creates unprecedented disruption as well as opportunities. The impact of the pandemic remains uncertain, and the board must be vigilant to monitor key operational indicators to insure the hospital is meeting the needs of the citizens as well as operating in a profitable manner. The new normal for hospitals is still evolving and will require us to be flexible and innovative. 

What skill set will you bring to the board that is not there now? 

As a board member for the past five years, I have used my financial background to improve investment returns and assure the integrity of the financial statements. The board needs to commit itself to transparency for the voters who elected them. We need more than just cheerleaders for the hospital, rather representatives of the citizens to ask hard questions and hold management accountable for their actions. 

SM Health Systems reported $193 million in uncollected/bad debts last fiscal year. That’s 20% of total revenues and twice what the hospital system generates in operating profits. What’s your comment and reaction to that? 

Health care is expensive. A prolonged economic downturn will impact patient volumes and payor mix and increase charity care, Medicaid losses and bad debt expense. The board must encourage management to explore new ways to deliver health care. New protocols for telehealth were implemented as regulations were eased in the early weeks of the pandemic. Personalized tools and treatments are transforming care, and SMH should be a leader in developing these new tools to help bring the cost of  health care down and to make it affordable for our citizens. 

SM Health System is opening its new hospital in Venice in 2021. What’s your view on whether SMH should have a hospital in North Port? 

The strategic plan for SMH adopted by the board has identified a need for a hospital in North Port. The board has already acquired the land for a new hospital at the intersection of Interstate 75 and Toledo Blade. I support building a hospital there when the population and number of doctors is enough to support the new hospital. It might take another 10 to 15 years before it becomes a reality.


Latest News