Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Beacons of Hope

(Florida Trend)

Access to trusted, quality health care is important to all of us — regardless of background or economic standing — especially when it comes to our children.

We’ve all experienced times when either our own children or the children of a family member, friend, business associate or acquaintance needed specialized care.

Floridians are fortunate to have access to some of the best health care in the nation. Florida is home to four non-profit specialty licensed children’s hospitals, which provide exceptional and critical care to children throughout our state — and even around the world.

Earlier this year, FLORIDA TREND invited the top executives at the state’s four specialty children’s hospitals to our offices in St. Petersburg. Our executive editor, managing editor and an associate editor joined me in a discussion concerning pediatric health care in Florida. Joining us were:

Alicia Schulhof, president of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg

Matthew Love, president and CEO of Nicklaus Children’s Health System in Miami

Allegra Jaros, president of Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville

Martha McGillNemours Regional President, Central Florida and chief operating officer of Florida Network Operations.

All four have devoted their careers to advancing pediatric health care in Florida and beyond. Their passion for what they do and the goals they hope to achieve not only for their institutions and our children, but also for their employees, was evident from the start of our conversation.

They are driven by their commitment to compassionate health care. They are focused on recruiting top talent, research and constantly improving outcomes and are making the necessary investments in technology and infrastructure to make sure that children will always have the best care.

Our discussion centered not only around the growth and investments of each of the four hospitals, but also on the importance of collaboration and partnership among the four.

These hospitals treat some of the most serious and complex cases. One in four Florida children receive treatment from one of these hospitals — regardless of their families’ ability to pay. In fact, between 50% and 74% of patients treated at these hospitals are covered by Medicaid. But Medicaid doesn’t come close to covering the full cost of treatment. The Medicaid shortfall at these four hospitals is in excess of $140 million annually.

Increased state and federal funding — along with private endowments — is vital to the growth and success of these institutions. As Florida’s population grows, so does the number of children who will need care. It is estimated that Florida will have more than 5 million children over the next 10 years. We must make it a priority to ensure that all children, no matter their circumstances, are afforded access to the world-class, specialized care they need and deserve.

— David G. Denor, Publisher ddenor@floridatrend.com