Benjamin Frank, Esq., chairman of the Palm Beach County Health Care District, recently announced that he is stepping down from the board after completing an accomplished four-year term of volunteer service.
During Frank’s tenure, the public health care system marked its 15th year of operating a model school health program and its 20th year of overseeing the county’s nationally recognized and life-saving trauma system.
Frank’s term was also highlighted by the district receiving a federal grant to provide primary care at four Palm Beach County Health Department public health clinics. Frank’s steady leadership, as well as his commitment to government transparency and fiscal responsibility, helped guide the agency during the economic recession, transition in management and national healthcare reform.
“I am extremely proud of the Health Care District and its dedicated staff in providing the quality care that continues to improve the health of our community,” Frank said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to have played a leadership role in this important public health organization.”
In October 2011, the Health Care District Board elected Frank as its chair. That year, the district expanded access for the county’s uninsured in a pilot stop-gap program designed for residents while they were waiting to become eligible for health coverage.
Also that year, Lakeside Medical Center, the district’s public hospital in rural, western Palm Beach County, launched a three-year Family Medicine Residency Program to help train doctors in the underserved region and encourage them to practice locally. The following year, Lakeside Medical Center received national recognition for quality care and patient satisfaction.
In January 2012, the district began construction of a 120-bed facility in Riviera Beach to replace its aging skilled nursing home, the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
At the time of Frank’s appointment by former Gov. Charlie Crist in 2009, the economic downturn forced the district to balance increased demand for healthcare services with reduced funding resources. Frank played an instrumental role in stabilizing the property tax rate while maintaining core programs and services to benefit the county’s most needy residents.
Frank has been a strong proponent of the district’s model of the dollar following the patient. The district utilizes this model in programs like the county’s integrated trauma system and the district’s health coverage plans, which feature strong public and private community partnerships.
Frank also backed initiatives that maximize local funding by drawing down state and federal dollars to help support local hospitals, private physicians, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and government and community agencies.
“We thank Mr. Frank for his four years of dedicated service during which he set high standards for good governance, financial accountability and transparency,” said Dr. Ronald J. Wiewora, the Health Care District’s chief executive officer and chief medical officer. “Mr. Frank’s skillful leadership, advocacy of the Health Care District’s mission, and genuine appreciation of the work of our dedicated employees has helped strengthen the health care safety net for all of our residents. We wish him well in the future.”
Above: Benjamin Frank