The board of the embattled Broward Health public hospital system in South Florida plans to hold a private meeting to discuss issues surrounding an FBI investigation into the system, despite the objections of the board’s chairman.
The board voted 5-2 last week to delay a discussion concerning an e-mail from Wayne Black, a corporate private investigator hired by Broward Health that alleged the system’s lawyers were hindering the FBI investigation, according to the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The board decided to try to hold its meeting in private, as long as its lawyers could confirm that doing so wouldn’t be in violation of the Florida open-meetings law.
Board members in favor of closing the meeting worried that holding it in the open could compromise the investigation.
But board Chairman David Di Pietro argued that the board should be transparent. “I totally and unequivocally disagree that this meeting should be in the shade,” he said, according to the Sun Sentinel.
When asked for further comment, Broward Health sent Modern Healthcare a letter that its general counsel, Lynn Barrett, wrote to the board last week, following its initial meeting. Barrett denied impeding any investigations, adding that she is seeking a legal opinion on the issue of whether the board should close a future meeting to discuss the system’s issues. That meeting had not been scheduled as of last Friday.
The battle is the latest in a string of challenges and controversies facing the system. Broward Health’s CEO, Dr. Nabil El Sanadi, killed himself last month. The system reportedly faces state and federal investigations. And in September, Broward agreed to pay the government $69.5 million to settle allegations that it illegally paid doctors for referrals.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Black said El Sanadi hired him because the former CEO was worried about corruption within the system.