Nov 10 Chairman’s Meeting Minutes: September 22, 2021
Indian River County Hospital District Conference Room/ Zoom
September 22, 2021
TRUSTEES: Marybeth Cunningham Barbara Bodnar
Ann Marie McCrystal Allen Jones – via zoom
ABSENT: Kerry Bartlett Karen Deigl
STAFF: Ann Marie Suriano Jennifer Frederick
Kate Voss Jennifer Peshke, Esq.
Convene Meeting – Marybeth Cunningham, Chairwoman
Mrs. Cunningham convened the Chairman’s meeting of the IRCHD Board of Trustees at 10:00 AM by welcoming those participating via Zoom and in person.
Public Opening of Strategic Visioning RFP- Ann Marie Suriano, Executive Director
Mrs. Suriano stated that the District received one response to the strategic visioning RFP. She discussed the various publications and agencies that the RFP was sent to, with hopes of attracting multiple responses. The proposal received was from Carter, and she provided copies to the Trustees for their review and input. It was further discussed that Michael Felix who had facilitated the District strategic planning process in years past, may help assist Carter in this process, as he has knowledge and understanding of the District and its operations. She asked the Trustees to have any comments or concerns about the proposal or their approval, to her no later than September 30th.
Other Business- Marybeth Cunningham, Chairwoman
Mrs. Cunningham informed the Trustees that she and Mrs. Suriano attended a site visit with GlobeChek organized by Jeff Pickering from the Indian River Community Foundation. The purpose of the meeting was to learn more about the organization and its mission, and to assess the possibility of supporting initiatives to benefit residents of Indian River County. Mrs. Cunningham stated that Dr. Mallon and his partner founded GlobeChek in 2014 with a goal of eliminating preventable blindness through teleophthalmology. GlobeChek is an eye care platform consisting of hardware, software, and an interconnected network of eye and health care providers. The Kiosks are operated by a technician who guides the user through the screening process. All testing is performed without dilation and without touching the eye, and uses the same high-quality instrumentation found in an eye doctor’s office. The screening exam detects glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as other eye and systemic diseases. Mrs. Cunningham hopes that the District can work collaboratively with their 501(c)3 on community wellness initiatives. There was further discussion that TCCH was initially set to partner with GlobeChek to provide its service at their clinics however, there was not enough philanthropic support to cover the cost. Therefore, over the last few years, Ms. Soule has been working to bring ophthalmology services to TCCH and she is happy to announce that starting next week those services will be available at some of their clinics. Further, Mrs. Cunningham stated that the Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Program has begun providing services and Ms. Posey will provide an update to the Trustees in the next month.
FY 21-22 Budget Discussion- Ann Marie Suriano, Executive Director
Mrs. Suriano stated that she has updated the budget from the First Public Hearing with the projected year-end to reflect August’s expenditures. She has also provided an alternative budget recommended by another trustee for discussion and consideration. This budget provides for a reduced reserve amount, but no change to program or administrative expenses. Mrs. Cunningham asked for a Trustee discussion and Ms. Bodnar addressed the board. She explained that she is not comfortable with the number of reserves in the current proposed budget. She believes the District can reduce those reserves and still have ample funds to support any unanticipated healthcare needs. Therefore, she is recommending a millage of .6633 which would still allow for $2 million in the contingency reserves. Mrs. McCrystal stated that the District has historically kept a low millage rate and was the only county agency to maintain or lower its millage this year. She is not in favor of reducing the budget further, as the District is still working towards its strategic goals and will need those reserves to address any unforeseen health needs within the community. Mrs. Cunningham echoed Mrs. McCrystal’s comments as well and stated that she is not in favor of reducing the reserves. Mr. Jones stated that he respects the other Trustees’ point of view however, he is still reluctant to support the millage of .7612. He did initially recommend an alternative for some of the reserves to be given to CCIRH for the maternity ward campaign, but after further consideration, he believes that the project is the commitment of CCIRH and not the District. He also believes that there are still unknowns concerning costs of potential health initiatives that the District could support, but suggests that reserves to implement those initiatives would not surpass $2 million. Therefore, he believes the facts don’t justify the current proposed budget with $3.9 million in the contingency reserves, plus $1.2 million in placeholders. Therefore, he recommends adopting the budget with a millage rate of .6633.
Mrs. Suriano stated that she asked Ms. Deigl and Ms. Bartlett to prepare a written statement to be read during today’s meeting, since they would not be in attendance. She began with Ms. Bartlett’s comments and she stated that after her review of both budgets she is not in favor of reducing the reserves this year due to the upcoming strategic visioning initiative. She believes the Board currently does not have a clear picture of opportunities or challenges over the next five years. She then read Ms. Deigl comment and stated that since the District does not have a formal visioning plan in place, she does not feel the District should tax at the highest amount. She would be more comfortable with a lower reserve and feels a lower amount of reserves would be adequate in supporting healthcare for the community, without further burden to the taxpayer. Mrs. Suriano stated that since the board is not unanimously in agreement on a proposed budget, she will need direction as to what should be included in tomorrow’s Final Public Budget Hearing packet. There was a Trustee discussion and Mr. Jones stated that the Trustees could compromise between the two proposed budgets and recommended a budget with $3 million in reserves and a millage of .7144. There was further group discussion surrounding the different budget scenarios. Mrs. Suriano stated that she will have the three proposed budgets discussed at today’s meeting in the packet for consideration, but ultimately it will be up to the Trustees to propose a motion with a millage rate tomorrow night at the hearing.
Other Business- Jennifer Peshke, Esq.
Mrs. Peshke stated that the Trustees may have seen the recent news concerning the two former Sebastian City Council members who were convicted of Sunshine Law violations and perjury. She explained that Mr. Gilliam’s was sentenced to more than 300 days in jail and fined $1,500 and Ms. Parris was sentenced to 210 days in jail and fined $2,500 on the same convictions. Additionally, Indian River County Circuit Court Judge Michael Linn also ordered them to pay $26,098.50 restitution to the city of Sebastian and court costs of $343 each. In this instance, it was determined that those board members acted with intent and knowingly violated the Sunshine Law. As a reminder to the Trustees, she emphasized the importance of following the Sunshine Law and maintaining transparency in all work that the District does.
Mr. Garza addressed the board and stated he respects the Trustees and is so impressed with their work and dedication during the budget process. He looks forward to working collaboratively with the District this next fiscal year and is thankful for their support. Mrs. Soule echoed his comments and stated that she appreciates the questions and comments from the Trustee. She stated that there may be some reluctance from other community health agencies to approach the District for funding due to their reputation of being a tough board, but she is grateful for the thoughtfulness the board puts into its decisions, which are ultimately for the betterment of the community.
Public Comment & Adjourn
Mrs. Cunningham asked for public comment and there was none. The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 AM