South Florida Hospital News
Friday May 14, 2021
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August 2016 - Volume 13 - Issue 2
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Baptist Health COO Wayne Brackin Credits Long-term Leadership for System’s Explosive Growth

For the past nine years, Wayne Brackin has served as the chief operating officer (COO) of Baptist Health South Florida. A former CEO at both South Miami Hospital and Homestead Hospital, Brackin’s first role at Baptist was as an administrative intern.

“A lot has happened since that time,” said Brackin, who now oversees six hospitals in the Baptist Health system, as well as 30-plus outpatient and urgent care centers and the Baptist Health Medical Group. “When I started nine years ago, it was relatively early in the creation of Baptist Health, which at the time was a group of independent hospitals. I think our overarching accomplishment was to get the organization functioning as a system, which we did as a very tight-knit leadership group.”
 
“The extraordinarily long tenure of management is a significant strength of the organization,” he continued. “It has enabled us to develop a true system with the ability to maintain very high levels of patient, physician and employee satisfaction during a period of amazing growth.”
 
According to Brackin, Baptist Health has grown in virtually every way, including size and scope. “We built a new hospital at West Kendall and started the Baptist Medical Group that now includes more than 200 physicians,” he explained. “We also created a clinically integrated network,  and most recently became involved in the development of Miami Cancer Institute.”
 
Working closely with Florida International University’s College of Medicine, Baptist Health also started its first residency program. It has dramatically increased its number of outpatient locations, which span from South Dade County to Broward County.
 
“We also launched a primary care group strategy with four locations and 20-plus primary care physicians,” said Brackin, adding that Baptist Health’s 16,000 employees make it the largest private employer in Dade County.
 
Even as it continues to grow, the system is positioning itself for the future. “We have focused on being less reactive and more strategic over the past nine years, working ourselves into the position of being a significant market leader and building on that leadership position,” he said. “We are not resting on our laurels. We are looking at the next three to five years, trying to stay ahead of trends in order to stay ahead of the market.
 
“We want to be cutting-edge; not bleeding edge,” he added.
 
Like any health care system, Baptist faces significant challenges. “Our challenges are not much different than what is happening on a national scale,” Brackin said. “There is less money in the health care system, so everyone is having to make adjustments, though this is doubly difficult in Florida because the state refuses to accept Medicaid expansion money.”
 
Baptist is also faced with the challenge of operating in a county that has an ever-increasing cost of housing, which Brackin says makes it difficult to attract and maintain a workforce. “The lack of a significant transportation infrastructure also inhibits growth,” he added.
 
Future Plans
Just as it has for the last decade, Baptist Health is continuing to focus on growth, and moving the organization from a collection of inpatient facilities to what Brackin calls a truly integrated multi-faceted organization.
 
“This requires having inpatient acute care capabilities, as well as a medical group strategy, PCP group strategy and outpatient strategy that creates more access in a lower cost environment,” he explained. “We’re also working to increase the system’s geographic footprint in order to align with the needs of the medical staff who are transitioning from private practices and need an environment that will enable them to stay in South Florida.”
 
Baptist Health’s recent move into Palm Beach County through its merger with Bethesda Health, which is expected to close in just over a year, will give it a strong anchor in that area. And Miami Cancer Institute, which is the biggest project upon which the system has ever embarked, will open in January 2017.
 
“We’re very excited about the institute, an affiliation with Memorial Sloan Kettering,” said Brackin. “We’re bringing in luminary physicians from top cancer centers across the country to populate the staff and to augment our already very solid cancer program.
 
“We’re also moving into arenas accessing novel technology like proton therapy,” he added. “We’ll be able to bring clinical trials that were previously not available in South Florida to the community through our relationship with Memorial Sloan Kettering.”
 
If the last nine years are any indication, Baptist Health is ready for whatever the future brings. “We set out to become the most preferred destination for patients in the community, the best place for physicians to practice, and the best place to work,” summarized Brackin. “By every measure, we have succeeded.”
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