Why did Broward Health’s board fire Pauline Grant 90-days from retirement?
Reacting to the sudden firing of Interim Broward Health CEO Pauline Grant, the Broward County Commission voted 6-3 on Tuesday to delay a new $8.5 million contract to the county hospital system.
Grant, a Jamaican-American, who was terminated at a hurriedly called board meeting on December 1. She served as Interim CEO since January, and was with Broward Health for the past 30 years.
The BH board voted 4 to 1 to terminate Grant on allegations of her taking kickback contrary to state regulations.
Board member Maureen Canada cast the dissenting vote. Critical of the hasty decision of the board, she referred to Grant as a woman of “integrity and professionalism.”
Board members, all appointees of Governor Rick Scott, gave no details of the allegations, which Grant has vehemently denied. She said the allegations referred to her tenure as CEO of Broward Health North in 2015. Allegations involved kickbacks from a physician who wanted to get on an on-call schedule at that hospital. She said board members claimed the hospital benefitted from the kickback, but emphasized that was not true.
The board’s decision was based on recommendations of lawyers retained by Broward Health General Counsel Lyn Barrett. Grant admitted being taken by surprise of news of a legal investigation against her and the actions taken at the board meeting.
The motion to delay the Broward County Commission contract to meet the hospital’s cost of serving poor patients was initiated by Broward Commissioner Dale Holness, who said, “Broward Health Board need to get the house of the hospital district in order.” The motion followed calls by County health officials to hold the board accountable for its actions in firing Grant. Former chairman of the Broward Health board, Dorsey Miller, called Grant’s firing “an illegal act because it was conducted during an illegal meeting.”
Holness told National Weekly the Board’s action was, “wrong, unjustified, rotten to the core. It’s shameful the board maligned a health professional of 30-years who came to their rescue in January; terminating her only 90 days from retirement. This precludes her from now getting a pension.”
Staff members at Broward Health are “shocked” by Grant’s sudden dismissal. “Something is seriously wrong here. That lady was one of the best hospital administrator in Broward County!” exclaimed Broward Nurse Pauline Harris. “There is nothing but confusion in the boardroom of Broward health. Something is fishy. Grant was brought in to replace Interim CEO Kevin Fusco who was far from a suitable and competent administrator, and now Fusco has been reappointed to the position. This is crazy and demotivating.”
Another board member Sheela VanHosse who was out of town when the board voted to fire Grant also criticized the decision in a letter to her colleagues. She wrote to “being shocked at the Board’s decision to terminate an individual under the pretense that there could be an investigation of criminal activity and I emphasize ‘could be’……Your hasty decision will tarnish the record of a loyal employee who dedicated her professional career to Broward Health.”