More resignations deepen turmoil at Broward Health

Two more top Broward Health executives quit this week, deepening the leadership turmoil at the taxpayer-supported hospital system.

Dionne Wong, senior vice president for human resources, and Mark Sprada, interim chief executive of in Fort Lauderdale, both resigned. Their departures follow the resignation of senior vice president Doris Peek, in the wake of a highly critical report on her handling of a marketing contract.

The resignations come after Broward Health’s credit rating was lowered last month by S&P Global Ratings, which cited weak financial results and the leadership turmoil at the troubled system, legally known as the North Broward Hospital District.

The resignations are likely to worsen the hospital system’s image in the eyes of credit rating agencies, whose assessments influence the cost of borrowing money. In a statement accompanying the downgrade of Broward Health’s credit in July, S&P Global analyst Stephen Infranco said, "The lower rating and negative outlook reflect continued weak operating results, thin cash flow and the continued void in permanent senior leadership, with many positions filled on an interim basis during a period of significant challenges and heightened scrutiny.”

Rocky Rodriguez, chairman of the Broward Health board, declined to respond directly to a reporter’s phone message. Instead, Rodriguez ed Broward Health’s public relations firm, EvClay Public Relations of Miami. Melisa Mendez Chantres, EvClay’s president, said Rodriguez was “unavailable.” A half hour later, she issued a written statement in his name that said in full, “We respect employees’ rights to resign. Broward Health’s focus is on preparing for the future and building a dynamic team.”

Reached by phone, Sprada referred questions to Broward Health’s public relations department. Wong could not be reached.

Broward Health has been operating under a series of interim CEOs since the suicide 18 months ago of CEO Dr. Nabil El Sanadi. The board had hired an executive search firm that assembled candidates who had been top executives of major hospitals or hospital systems, but the board abruptly ended the process and decided to start over.

The current interim CEO, Beverly Capasso, had been a member of the board who was elevated to the $650,000-a-year job by her fellow board members after little discussion of her background or plans for the institution.

At Broward Health Medical Center, the system’s largest hospital, the job of chief executive will be shared by the hospital’s chief operating officer, Sandra Todd-Atkinson, and chief financial officer, Alex Fernandez, until the replacement is found, according to Broward Health.

Broward Health, partly funded by property taxes, operates five hospitals and various outpatient facilities that serve the northern two-thirds of the county. The system is run by a board appointed by Gov. Rick Scott. Although there are seven board seats, three have been vacant for months.

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