South Florida Hospital News
Sunday August 25, 2019
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August 2014 - Volume 11 - Issue 2

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The South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Association

For the last 70 years, the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association (SFHHA) has continues in its role as a vibrant, active and strong metropolitan hospital association.
 
At its first meeting in 1944, with a membership of seven hospitals, the South Florida Hospital Association addressed the pressing nursing shortage caused by WWII. In the 50’s, it worked tirelessly with its membership to assure hospitals eliminated inappropriate discrimination in hiring and patient care.
 
During the early 60’s, members lobbied in Washington, D.C. for both the establishment of secure funding streams for seniors (Medicare) and for the indigent (Medicaid). And the 70’s saw the development of community health planning and state regulations for medical facility licensure and the development of the certificate of need program which focused on limiting unbridled growth in healthcare. Medicare managed care started here in Miami in the 80’s under our Congressman Claude Pepper’s initiative, and the Association made sure that the new “HMO’s” were required to have contracts with hospitals and pay their members’ bills.
 
In the early 90’s, our members were rebuilding from Hurricane Andrew and the Florida Medicaid program was trying to recover funds, unsuccessfully, that they paid out to many of our hospital members that were providing inpatient psychiatric services.
 
As hospitals began to merge and the lines between payers and providers began to blur, the SFHHA opened our membership to the entire healthcare continuum. Soon thereafter, we worked with hospitals to get timely payment from late paying HMOs. In the late 1990’s, members also started reporting thefts of expensive medical equipment and the SFHHA Board created the Safety & Security Committee which worked with the FBI on a “sting” operation that put a major fence out of business.
 
As the 90’s were closing, hospitals were challenged by the publication of a report by the Institute of Medicine entitled “To Err Is Human: Building A Safer Health System.” In the face of this challenge, the SFHHA created the Quality & Accountability Council, developed a separate set of membership requirements, and raised the profile of hospitals that were improving efforts to decrease risks associated with medical treatment.
 
No sooner had we moved into the 2,000s when national and state performance reporting requirements started appearing that showed various “report cards” of hospital performance. The SFHHA’s Public Relations Committee created and distributed thousands of “Questions to Ask” brochures in English and Spanish that clarified just what all these report cards meant - a model used around the country.
 
And as the decade ended, the SFHHA assisted with the creation of the South Florida Regional Extension Center and its promotion of electronic medical records. In addition at the SFHHA’s initiative, the SFHHA and the Florida Hospital Association created the Patient Safety Organization of Florida (PSO-Florida). PSO-Florida’s mission is to help hospitals throughout the state establish and improve the culture of safety and to move forward as efficiently as possible to create solutions for risks and hazards associated with patient care.
 
Throughout our 70 years, advocacy and education has been the Association’s primary mission. In recent memory, there have been literally hundreds of informative presentations. And over the last ten years, we have organized and presented our Annual Healthcare Summit covering hot topics in healthcare.
 
At its roots, the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association is a “problem solving” organization. We are advocates, educators, and facilitators for both our membership and the community. And, remaining vital, the SFHHA always has new and continuing initiatives under way. Currently, the SFHHA has a project focusing on advocating the certification of “baby friendly” hospital maternity programs where the goal is to provide support to mothers who want to breastfeed. We have another project that is looking at the development of an insurance premium support program that will focus on providing additional insurance premium support to our most needy residents. As an additional benefit, free, voluntary educational programs will be available where information and “tips” are part of the curriculum intended to make them wiser health care consumers.
 
The Association also has filled the roll of media clearinghouse. The SFHHA frequently responds to media inquiries on contemporary healthcare incidents and issues. Through both good news and bad, national and local reporters and editorial writers frequently turn to the SFHHA to determine whether something happening in a hospital or healthcare is commonplace or exceptional.
 
Seventy years of exemplary performance characterizes the SFHHA. With change in the healthcare sector occurring at exponential rates, it is comforting to know that there is an organization in the local community that is aware of these changes and is working toward providing its members with the best services possible.
For information about the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, contact either Linda Quick, President, at lquick@sfhha.com or Jaime Caldwell, Vice President, at jcaldwell@sfhha.com.
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