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Sarasota Hospital Board Southern District, Seat 1: Patricia Maraia

Meet the candidate.

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Explain what you believe to be the fundamental role of government.

“Governments are instituted among Men to secure our unalienable Rights, among which are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Declaration of Independence).


Explain what you believe to be the essential role of the hospital board.

The role of the hospital board is to establish policies that create efficient use of our funds to deliver high-quality medical care and to provide enough transparency so that the public is assured of this.


When you are legislating and creating policies, which of the following would take precedence over the other: the individual or the collective “common good”? Why?

The patient is my primary concern. That is why our hospital was created. To set a policy that serves the patient, we need policies that remove any pressure on the patient’s doctor to change his treatment plan. This allows the doctor to serve the patient.


Why are you running for office?

As a medical-surgical nurse at the prestigious Long Island Jewish Medical Center, which is connected to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, I was blessed to be part of a team where staff and administration were committed to providing excellent patient care. I’ve been a nurse for 33 years and worked through a few pandemics. I found that to truly get the best outcomes the patient and the family must understand the treatment choices.

But the COVID pandemic was different. The healthy were locked down. The jailed, already locked down, were released. Early treatment was denied and late treatment was hard to explain. Patients were isolated from family members and their personal doctors.

I found myself standing beside those family members as they struggled to navigate our suddenly politicized healthcare system. 

Excellent healthcare was no longer the goal; unquestioned uniformity was the goal; and any alternative was suppressed.

This approach violates all previous medical standards. Our hospital needs board members who understand the healthcare delivery system to set policies that will allow for quality medical standards to BE reinstated.


What issues or concerns would you advocate that the hospital board and SMH Healthcare management set as top priorities? Why?

Preserving the doctor-patient relationship. It is clear that the hospitalists are not in control of their treatment of patients. They are following orders they can’t defend medically. We need policies that give a doctor the freedom to use his or her best judgment.

Transparency: We need a policy that allows us to measure quality of our care independent of administration. When SMH is on national news and no board member is aware of it, the system that is in use is broken.

Financial responsibility: The new 10-year/nearly-$2 million contract for the CEO suggests that there is a lot of fat in central administration. Only the hospital board can look into it and justify or rectify this situation to the taxpayer.


What needs to change at SMH Healthcare?

SMH Healthcare has been on TV news for unacceptable treatment of patients. Yet when board members were asked, they said administration didn’t mention the hospital’s being on the news. Moreover, administration hires the patient advocates, so there is no unbiased evaluation of whether SMH is delivering the quality of care that the board’s policies should be providing.


What distinguishes you from your opponent that makes you a better candidate?

My opponent may be a fine man, but he is not in the medical field. When evaluating the quality of care, he wouldn’t know the questions to ask, nor would he really understand the answers. As a nurse for 33 years who has worked at some of the best hospitals in the nation, I know both the questions to ask and understand the answers.


What experience do you have that would convince voters you would be a good steward and monitor of taxpayer dollars?

I run my own business, and I value top talent. But for no discernible reason, my opponent gave the SMH CEO a 10-year contract with a raise and incentives that bring his compensation to $1.8 million. 

The CEO didn’t ask for the raise. He wasn’t threatening to leave. There may be hidden reasons that the board hasn’t revealed, in which case we need a board member who will fight for transparency.

If his contract was given simply because it was the taxpayers’ money and not the board’s own, then I believe the voters will be better off with me. It is easier to change politicians than the change politicians’ minds.


If elected, what will be your guiding principles to determine whether to vote for or against legislation or policies?

I have three guiding principles: First, stay in our lane. The Constitution limits us; we need to abide by its limitations. 

For example, I would not mandate vaccines for all employees. I believe that violates both their constitutional rights and the doctor-patient relationship. 

That leads me to my second guiding principle: Preserve the doctor-patient relationship. 

My third principle is ensure the policy is financially responsible, keeping in mind that we are responsible to the taxpayer to spend their money wisely.


In general, what role should the government play in the economy?

The government sets the rules for economic growth or decline based on the laws, regulations and taxes they impose. This is just what is and whether it should be or not. I can’t see any other alternative.


Should government subsidize the manufacture of electric cars and/or give tax credits to consumers for buying electric cars? Why? Why not?

No, once the government subsidizes anything, those who receive the money will start lobbying the government for more money. And gradually the government becomes their most important customer. Of course, some of these lobbying dollars fund political campaigns. Then, taxpayers are funding politicians whom they may or may not support. This lack of integrity can lead to corruption. It is best to avoid temptation.


What is your philosophy for taxation? Graduated income tax? Flat income tax? No income tax? Consumption tax? Property tax?

Our Constitution sets forth six goals for our government to achieve: “Form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

Taxes used for these purposes are fairest as a use or sales tax, or to use your term, consumption tax. This means, of course, that those who use the service pay the tax. 

Property tax is also fair for a service like the hospital because you want the service available, but you hope you never have to use it. 

Taxes that pit one group against another, like a graduated income tax, create division, which is a less perfect union.


A right does not impose an obligation on others. Free speech is a right. There is no right to having a car. In that vein, is health care a right?

Healthcare is a patient's choice. It starts with proper nutrition and exercise. No one should take that right away from the patient. 

Today, our government seems to believe that it controls that right. And the government has divided the right among insurance companies, Big Pharma and probably others.

This takeover is driving up the cost and driving down the quality of healthcare.


If you were king, queen or a tyrannical despot in charge of the country, how, if at all, would you amend the U.S. Constitution? Why?

The U.S. Constitution is fine. Congress just seems to ignore it when passing laws, and the executive branch has gotten completely out of control. 

No words added or deleted will make Congress stop ignoring our Constitution. If I were Queen, I would hire an attorney general to evaluate all legislation based on its constitutionality and advise Congress accordingly.


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