At 29, when many people are still trying to find themselves, Alan Levine had already found himself in a hospital chief executive officer role. By the time he was 37, Levine was finding his way around then-Gov. Jeb Bush's proposed Medicaid overhaul as head of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. And now, at 40, he finds himself the president and CEO of North Broward Hospital District, a four-hospital public health system in Fort Lauderdale.
Levine clearly found himself early on and hasn't lost his way.
Throughout his career, Levine has balanced his penchant for public service with his talent as a hospital administrator. Being a healthcare executive involved stepping out into the community, which gave him a platform from which to launch his public service career, he told Modern Healthcare when he was named an Up & Comer in 2005 at age 38.
He joined Gov. Bush’s administration in February 2003 as health policy adviser and deputy chief of staff, taking a pay cut and moving his family to do so. He served in that position until Bush named him secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration in July 2004, where he oversaw a major and controversial overhaul of the state’s Medicaid program and a budget of more than $16 billion, in addition to regulating the state’s healthcare facilities and publishing healthcare data and statistics.
The state’s market-based Medicaid reform proposal involved moving Medicaid beneficiaries into private managed-care plans in two counties—Broward and Duval—for a one-year pilot project and then, as of July, beginning to expand the program statewide. “Mr. Levine was instrumental in bringing together an unbelievably talented team to help us with that,” says Paul Sallarulo, chairman of the North Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners.
Levine, one of the Medicaid plan’s key architects and spokesmen, has said it would enable the state to share its considerable financial risk with private hospitals and physicians.
Levine got his start in healthcare as the chief operating officer of Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson, Fla., which was at the time part of for-profit giant Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. He also held positions as the CEO of Doctors’ Memorial Hospital in Perry, Fla., and as CEO of South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center, Fla., before joining Bush’s team.
He became the president and CEO at the North Broward district in July 2006, replacing Wil Trower, who resigned under pressure, according to local news reports.
Among the efforts Levine has led are mandating the public reporting of health provider outcomes, implementing privacy-protected electronic health records in the state, and increasing hurricane and disaster preparedness for Florida’s healthcare facilities.
At North Broward, Sallarulo says, Levine has brought in a new and energized management team. He is committed to transparency and has changed the district’s financial reporting methodology, and is also leading an initiative to assess and incorporate safe medication practices. He drafted a code of conduct and ethics for the board that the state Legislature recently approved, and has forged relationships not only with legislators but also with other healthcare executives.
So where will Levine end up? Sallarulo says that he hopes Levine will stay in Florida but he wouldn’t be surprised if Levine aspires to greater things.
“He’s a young man, and I’m sure someday he wants to be the secretary of health for the president of the United States,” he says. “I could see him there.”