Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association
Celebrates 60 Years
by John Fries
My, how times change. In 1944, Americans were swinging to the big
bands sound of Jimmy Dorsey and his orchestra, while the bobby-soxers
were causing near-riots over a new solo singing sensation named Frank
Sinatra. The Dodgers still played in Brooklyn, and Casablanca was
playing at your local movie house. Families rode in cars that were
like boats with wheels, and got their news and entertainment on the
huge radio in the living room. Cape Canaveral was just sun-drenched
beachfront property, and the artists hadnÕt yet begun to arrive en
masse in Coconut Grove.
And, such progressive concepts as comprehensive cancer care, health
system business models, and even the polio vaccine were still several
years from being developed.
Although the practice of medicine was drastically different in 1944,
some of todayÕs administrative issues were the same. That year, when
a group of South Florida hospital and healthcare administrators met
for the first time as the Dade-Broward Hospital Association, they
discussed and debated such issues as the federal governmentÕs role
in healthcare, safety and security, blood supplies, and how to provide
care for the uninsured.
This year, the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association (SFHHA)
Š as itÕs known today Š celebrates 60 years of advocacy, education
and communication in the Broward, Dade and Palm Beach counties, and
those topics continue to be as relevant as ever.
"ItÕs interesting," said Linda Quick, SFHHA president since 1994.
"The organization has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 60 years,
but the fundamental concerns remain."
Quick has in her office a leather-bound copy of the minutes from all
SFHHA meetings held between 1944 and 1951. The notes, which have faded
a bit with time, were written and corrected by hand, then typed into
the planner-style book and signed in fountain pen.
"On September 27, 1944," she continued, "the organization began with
a total amount of $35 cash on hand." As she gently flipped through
the worn pages, the past began to come alive.
"On March 16, 1945, Dr. Van Riper said that the blood bank holds hospitals
responsible for blood collection. He wanted to set up a council for
Quick, who today sits on the board of the Community Blood Center of
South Florida, confirms that this is still very much an issue. Moving
through the book, she landed on May 26, 1948. On that day, we learned
that the association met at the Coral Gables Country Club to discuss
changes to policies regarding hospital staff nurses, and to advocate
training nurses to provide home care. In 1948, nursing instructors
were paid $2.83 per hour.
"The more things have changed, the more theyÕre remained the same,"
said Chandler Bailey, senior vice president at Aon Risk Services,
a firm that deals with hospital and medical malpractice issues.
Bailey, who served as vice president of planning at SFHHA from 1985-1990,
recalls that "the big issues, then as now, were medical malpractice,
the nursing shortage and timely Medicare and Medicaid payments."
During his tenure at SFHHA, he was responsible for developing new
enterprises, one of which was in response to malpractice issues at
community-based hospitals. He also staffed a task force that addressed
nursing issues and another that explored how trauma and emergency
transport patients could be directed to the appropriate facility.
"At the time," he said, "emergency departments at many hospitals were
often on "by-pass" for a number of reasons. This created problems
for local fire rescue teams trying to get their patients to the closest
available facility. Our task force worked with hospital trauma centers
and emergency departments to try and find order in what was a chaotic
situation, with regard to patient flow through those centers and emergency
About the SFHHA
The SFHHA was formed to create a cooperative alliance among healthcare
providers across South Florida. It actively represents the interests
of its members though communication with elected officials, legislative
advocacy, sponsorship of an ongoing schedule of educational programs
and seminars, shared services, networking opportunities, and improvement
of the local industry through interaction and communication. Members,
in turn, serve their communities through a number of cooperative planning
and outreach efforts.
Today, the association has a membership of more than 55 hospitals
and over 100 organizations in Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach
and St. Lucie counties. These include long term care organizations,
educational institutions, insurance agencies, development, design
and construction firms, information system and technology companies,
accountants, attorneys, consultants and others.
"Geographically, weÕve grown to represent a pretty wide area," said
David Stansberry, administrator at the University of Miami Cancer
Center and chairman of the SFHHA board.
"Our membership reaches from the Keys to north of Martin County."
He added that the current membership includes many of the successors
of the hospitals that were original SFHHA members. "We have a good
history of being advocates. We also know thereÕs always an opportunity
to do better," he said.
In addition to interacting with elected officials, Stansberry said
the SFHHA works closely with other organizations, including the American
Hospital Association and the Florida Hospital Association.
The Association has several committees and task forces, and encourages
its members to become involved. Standing committees address broad
areas are Bylaws; Healthcare Finance and Management; Legislative and
Government Relations; Membership; Public, Professional and Continuing
Education; and Safety and Security. Single-issue task forces are Nursing
Shortage, Ethics and Compliance, and Malpractice and Professional
to Quick, the nursing shortage is a major issue in South Florida.
"WeÕre working with hospitals, and trying to encourage nurses to move
to South Florida from other parts of the country," The SFHHA has been
pursuing a strategic approach in an effort to accomplish this. "We
identified a number of nurses, working at SFHHA member facilities,
who moved to South Florida less than three years ago. We set up two
focus group sessions and brought in a professional moderator to ask
them such questions as why the made the decision to move here and
what they like about the area. Their input was very instrumental in
helping us to determine the look and feel of the promotional materials
we developed for nursing recruitment. Those materials are now on our
As president, QuickÕs roles include developing policies and programs
to meet the goals and objectives of the SFHHA board of directors.
She directs the delivery of member services, executes contractual
agreements, spearheads advocacy activities, and supervises the association
SFHAA also has a valuable subsidiary in the South Florida Hospital
Research and Education Foundation, which provides two special seminars
each year for SFHHA members and the community.