FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Later this week, a governor-appointed board will discuss whether Broward Health should be privatized.
With four hospitals, including Broward General Medical Center, and numerous clinics, Broward Health treats thousands of uninsured patients and collects $150 million in taxes each year.
"How big a deal is this?" Local 10's Bob Norman asked David DiPietro, one of the members of the board.
"Huge. Huge," DiPietro answered.
"This public hearing is a key step in the process of putting these four hospitals up for sale," said John de Groot, a citizen watchdog.
The meeting is mandated by a new law signed by Gov. Rick Scott, who created a commission to explore privatizing Florida's 14 public health systems.
"I haven't seen the proposal yet, but what I want done is this -- I want Floridians to afford health care," said Scott.
Accounting firm Deloitte was hired to appraise Broward Health's potential sales price, and put the amount at about $550 million without including tax revenues. The money from any sale would go into funds controlled by the Broward County Commission.
"Half the proceeds would go to a county economic development fund for health care and half the money would go to indigent care," said Broward Health CEO Frank Nask.
"Do you have any idea where the board stands on this?" asked Norman.
"No," replied Nask.
DiPietro said he wonders if such a move is warranted.
"Will I listen? Sure, but looking at the numbers and our productivity and our quality, I'm pretty happy with what we have," said DiPietro.
The public hearing will be held at the Westin Cypress Creek Hotel, located at 400 Corporate Drive, Fort Lauderdale, at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
Copyright 2012 by Post Newsweek. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.