Indian River County Hospital District

Chairman’s Meeting: May 18, 2022

Indian River County Hospital District Conference Room/ Zoom
May 18, 2022
10:00 AM

TRUSTEES: Marybeth Cunningham Kerry Bartlett
Ann Marie McCrystal Barb Bodnar

ZOOM: Samantha Mesena Daniel Bach
Cathy Whitaker Kathy Orton
Robin Curby Marie Andress
Allen Jones

STAFF: Ann Marie Suriano Dawn Carboni
Kate Voss Jennifer Peshke, Esq.
Jennifer Frederick

ATTENDEES: Bill Stengel Pat Knipper
Lundy Fields Anne Posey
Carrie Lester Moreen Burkart
Ed Love

Convene Meeting – Marybeth Cunningham, Chairwoman
Mrs. Cunningham convened the meeting of the IRCHD Board of Trustees at 10:00 AM by welcoming those participating via Zoom and in person.

FY 22-23 Funding Request Presentations-

CCIRH Integration of Behavioral Health to ED- Anne Posey, Director of BH

Ms. Posey addressed the board and discussed the tragedy that occurred recently at the CCIRH Emergency Department (“ED”), where a behavioral health patient was boarding at the ED and became aggressive. This led to the patient being shot and killed by law enforcement. Following this incident, there have been several meetings with CCIRH executives and community leaders, on how best address the increase of behavioral health patients presenting at the ED. Since the pandemic, there has been a surge in mental health issues and they are seeing that increase daily. She provided data on the same and stated that in 2017 there were admitted approximately 1530 behavioral health patients. In 2021, 2100 behavioral health patients were admitted, and year to date they have admitted 690 patients. She further explained that those numbers are only the admissions to the Behavioral Health Center. They also receive admissions from other agencies in the county as they are the designated Baker Act facility in Indian River County. Ms. Posey then discussed the funding request brought before the Trustees. She explained that the intent of this proposal is to provide the CCIRH ED with licensed mental health clinicians, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. These clinicians would perform the level of care assessments and assist with triage and transfer of the behavioral health and substance use disordered patients. The intent is to improve the care provided to the behavioral health patient and improve safety for the patient and the caregivers while in the ED. In addition, the licensed clinician would assist patients, families, and referral sources with the implementation of recommended disposition plans. This clinician will also work closely with the BHC Rapid Behavioral Response Team, ED physicians, tele-psychiatrist, and the BHC, to facilitate proper disposition from the ED. There was Trustee discussion surrounding the position and what the District funding would cover. They also asked for a breakdown of what CCIRH was contributing to the expansion of BH services, and if they would be supporting this position financially as well. Ms. Posey stated that she would provide a breakdown to the Trustees of the contributions CCIRH has done thus far, and what they have committed to doing in the future which includes massive renovations to the BHC. Additionally, she asked if there would be an opportunity to prorate some additional funding for this cause during the current fiscal year. The Trustees agreed that this was a needed service to support the ED, but would like to see the CCIRH contributions before making any decisions.

Substance Awareness Center- Carrie Lester, Executive Director

Ms. Lester provided a brief review of the Substance Awareness Centers’ (“SAC”) mission and vision for those who were not familiar with the organization. She stated that in addition to the many programs that the District funds at SAC, they will also be requesting funding to support another program. She explained that the Universal Prevention Program utilizes evidence-based curriculum and well-trained prevention specialists under the direction of the Clinical Director. In partnership with the Indian River County School District, SAC has been providing the Universal Prevention Programming for over 20 years. In an effort to diversify their funding strategy, they are requesting funds from the District, to support the continuation of the program. She reviewed the details of the program which provides a combination of Prevention Plus Wellness, Erika’s Lighthouse and EverFi Mental Wellness lessons to 6th-9th grade students in the public school system and reach over 5,500 youth annually. There was Trustee discussion and Ms. Deigl asked for clarification in the funding for the Erika’s lighthouse program, which is included in the Universal Prevention Programing curriculum. She recalled that the District funded the same program through the Mental Health Association (“MHA”) and asked if funding was still being provided to them. Ms. Lester explained that SAC is now fully supporting the implementation of the Erika’s lighthouse program at the schools, while MHA is providing support for the referrals that are sent to them for follow up mental health care.

VNA- Pat Knipper, Director of Community Health Services

Mr. Fields addressed the board and introduced the members of the VNA staff present for todays discussion. Then Ms. Knipper led the discussion concerning the VNA’s request for funding. She first began by providing an update concerning the VNA mobile clinic. She stated that many new opportunities for growth have arisen and have moved the location of the bus to different areas of the county to provide further outreach. They have begun to track more demographics and saw a 78% increase in patient encounters. She then provided an update concerning Together for Health, which has also seen growth as well. She explained that participation in the meetings has grown and along with the number of organizations that report out as well. Therefore, it was discussed that there was a need for a website to house information that has been shared at the meetings. They also hope it will be able to be shared with the community and provide information on how to access services within Indian River County. To bring this website to fruition, there are annual technical and content development costs. In addition, the VNA has estimated the cost of content maintenance to continually update the website with necessary changes and posting. The total amount being requested from the District for the site is $21,784, which is an estimate.

Next Ms. Burkart addressed to board to discuss the new program funding request for Music Therapy. She provided a brief review of the program’s history, which began in 2015. She then discussed the positive impacts music therapy provides to clients who suffer from chronic conditions in physical and mental health. The VNA’s music therapy program is the only one of its kind offered in Indian River County and the VNA has 4 board-certified therapists on staff which include one board-certified music therapy manager with specialized training in neurologic music therapy. They also utilize interns and have a successful internship program. She then discussed the funding request and stated the program is growing rapidly, and they cannot take on additional programs with its current staffing model. To best serve and make music available to the entire community, a full-time music therapist and a full-time coordinator are needed to develop and manage a community-based program and create awareness and engagement in the initiative. They believe that having a music therapy program available for vulnerable individuals would help move the needle towards equitable healthcare services previously not available due to lack of funding.

Lastly, Mr. Knipper and Mr. Love provided a review of the new funding request for Community Health Workers (“CHW”). The VNA is requesting funding for two CHW to work on the Community Health services team. One would work with the mobile clinic team, and one with the vaccine, health screening and education initiative team. The intent is for the workers to broaden the reach to the vulnerable populations in Indian River County that are being missed. There was further discussion on the role the CHW would play in connection with the VNA’s other existing outreach programs.

Unfinished Business- Approval of Strategic Plan, Ann Marie Suriano, Executive Director

Mrs. Suriano stated that as a follow up to last months presentation of the Strategic Plan, the District Trustees will need to approve the same. Therefore, Ms. Deigl made a motion to approve, which was seconded by Mrs. McCrystal. The motion carried unanimously. Mrs. Suriano then explained that included in their packet was the final memo from Carter outlining the plan and strategic priorities, as well as the next steps. The plan will be posted on the website and Mrs. Suriano stated that she would like the Trustees to consider having a presentation to the community discussing the plan and the strategic priorities. There was Trustee discussion and Ms. Bartlett stated that there is still work that needs to be done on defining some of the strategic priorities and actions steps. It was decided that the Trustees would hold a separate meeting to discuss just the strategic plan in the next month.

Lastly, due to the length of todays meeting, it was decided that Ms. Carboni would provide her audit update to the Trustees at tomorrow’s regular monthly meeting.

Public Comment & Adjourn

Mrs. Cunningham asked for public comment and there was none. The meeting was adjourned at 12:10 AM



William P Cooney MD is an orthopedic surgeon (retired) who has been a resident of Vero Beach since 2004. He practiced orthopedic surgery at Indian River Medical Center from 2006-2015 within the orthopedic practice of Prosports. He served on the IRMC Foundation for four years. Prior to this, he was a Professor of Orthopedics at Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota, Chair of the Division of Hand Surgery and Vice president of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He served as the Vice Chairman of the Mayo Clinic Development Department. He has been President of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, Orthopedic Research and Education Foundation, Consultant at Shrine Hospital systems. He was editor in chief of the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and co-editor of the Journal of Hand Surgery. He held grants in hand and wrist surgery sponsored by National Institute of Health (NIH) and Stryker Orthopedics and has over 250 publications in the field of orthopedic surgery, hand, wrist and elbow surgery and microsurgery- free tissue transfers. Within Indian River County, he has served as Chairman of the Board and President of the Hope for Families Homeless Center, Board of the Indian River Hospital Foundation, We Care and Whole Family Health Center medical practices.

Term:  1/23-12/24

Origination: Elected (2 OC)

Occupation: Retired Surgeon



Kerry Bartlett,  of Vero Beach, has more than 30 years experience in philanthropy, including as vice president of the VNA & Hospice Foundation; VNA chief advancement officer from 2001-2007; and executive director of the Indian River Community Foundation from 2008-2014. Kerry is the founder of The Bartlett Company, which focuses on nonprofit and philanthropic consulting. She also is a managing director for Carter, a Vero Beach company that specializes in advancing philanthropy worldwide. Kerry has spent more than 25 years in the nonprofit sector as a fund development professional and has particular expertise in annual funds, major gifts, endowment campaigns and legacy giving. Kerry is also known for creating and implementing effective donor-centered stewardship programs that build, maintain and strengthen nonprofits’ relationships.

Term:  3/21-12/22   |   1/23-12/26

Origination: Appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis
Elected NOC

Occupation: Philanthropic Consultant/Managing Director



Karen has been President and CEO of Senior Resource Association, where she successfully advocates for older adults and their families, since 2006. In that role, she helps provide activities, education and services benefiting older and disabled adults in Indian River County. In addition, Karen provides oversight of the community mass transit system for residents and visitors of the county. As CEO, Karen is responsible for a $7 million operational annual budget and managing more than 100 employees. She ensures that fiscally sound and responsible solutions are created to provide healthcare and a better quality of life for all Indian River County residents. Karen earned a BS in Health Administration from Florida Atlantic University and an MHA from the University of Florida. She was elected to the Indian River County Hospital District Board of Trustees in 2016, and joined the Board in January 2017.

Term:  1/17-12/20   |   1/21-12/24

Origination: Elected 1 OC | Elected NOC

Occupation: President/CEO



Paul Westcott has been a Board Certified Workers' Compensation Attorney since 1999. In addition, Paul has earned his certification from the Florida Supreme Court as a Circuit Civil and Family Law Mediator. Receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree in both Economics and Political Science at Florida Southern College, he continued his education at Stetson University College of Law. He graduated from Stetson in 1988, having been a published member of the Stetson Law Review. Paul has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1988.  He began his practice in a combined civil litigation and transactional practice before serving as an Assistant State Attorney.  He began his career in Workers' Compensation with Rissman, Weisberg, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue & McClain P.A., where he handled Workers' Compensation cases at the trial and appellate levels.  In 1997, Paul opened the Ft. Pierce office of Hurley, Rogner, Miller, Cox, Waranch & Westcott P.A. handling workers' compensation cases at all levels throughout central and south Florida, while managing the operations of that office.  During his nearly 25 year career in Workers' Compensation, he lectured on a wide range of industry topics.

1/23-12/26   |   1/21-12/24

Origination: Elected 1 OC 

Occupation: Attorney & Mediator



Barbara has practiced physical therapy, specializing in orthopedics and sports medicine, in her hometown of Vero Beach since 1981. She was an integral part of the sports medicine team at Vero Beach High School for 35 years. Barbara completed the reserve police academy training, and served with the Vero Beach Police Department from 1982-1989. Her volunteer involvement in the community includes serving on the City of Vero Beach Recreation Committee, Arthritis Association of Indian River County, and the Senior Good Life Games. She and her husband, Michael, enjoy spending their free time traveling in their RV and training their Labradors, Gunner and Chase, in K-9 performance events, including agility and dock jumping. Barbara is a lifelong resident of Indian River County, and received her degree in physical therapy from Chattanooga State College. Barbara was elected to the Indian River County Hospital District Board of Trustees in 2016, and joined the Board in January 2017.

Term:  1/17-12/20   |   1/21-12/24

Origination: Elected 1 OC | Elected 1 OC

Occupation: Physical Therapist



Born and raised in Illinois, Michael was a Theatre and Speech Instructor at Lincoln College when he moved to Indian River County in 1984. He was the Director of Education for the Riverside Theatre for a decade, helping to build the Riverside Children’s Theatre and directing many productions. Michael is well known in the community for his 25 years of service at the United Way of Indian River County, 16 of those years as the CEO. He is very proud of his work with dozens of nonprofit agencies and his commitment to creating and strengthening community collaboratives. Michael was also an Adjunct Faculty member at Barry University for 20 years. He has served on many boards and committees over the years, including: Children’s Services Advisory Committee Needs Assessment, Chair of the Emergency Food and Shelter Program for many years, and he was a founding member of the Mental Health Collaborative, the Senior Collaborative of IRC and the IRC Executive Roundtable. As a Hospital District Trustee he is committed to serving all the citizens of our county. In particular, he hopes to see enhanced availability and affordability for behavioral/mental health for all in need.


Term: 1/23- 12/26

Origination: Elected 1 OC

Occupation: Retired CEO United Way



Marybeth’s professional career encompasses 34 years of working for GM/Delphi in a variety of positions. Starting out as a traffic claims clerk, she worked her way through the organization, with roles in Purchasing, Engineering, and Quality and Reliability. She retired in 2009 as the executive director of Global Operations for the Packard Electric Division of Delphi. In this position, she was responsible for 94 plants in 33 countries. Marybeth has served on the board of directors for numerous non-profits, including Northeast Ohio Adoption Agency; United Way of Warren Ohio, where she served as chairman of the annual campaign for two years; Up with People; Head, Heart and Hands of Indian River Club; Indian River Community Foundation, and the Indian River Mental Health Collaborative. She earned her B.A. in Political Science from Albion College. Marybeth was elected to the Indian River County Hospital District Board of Trustees in 2014, and joined the Board in January 2015. She currently serves as Chair.


Term:  1/15-12/18   |   1/19-12/22   |   1/23- 12/24

Origination: Elected 1 OC | Elected  NOC | Elected NOC

Occupation: Retired Executive GM