South Florida Hospital News
Friday May 14, 2021

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November 2015 - Volume 12 - Issue 5


Linda Quick 'Not Leaving Town'

Don't think that just because Linda Quick is retiring as president of the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association (SFHHA), she won't still be around. "This isn't Alaska and I'm not on an ice floe," she said, conjuring up an interesting scenario. "And I know I'm not going on an around-the-world cruise. I'm leaving this position, but I'm not leaving town."

That is good news, because while Quick is retiring at the end of the year, she promised to help the board in any way she can. Having served for more than two decades (February would be 22 years), Quick has the expertise available to help SFHHA as it transitions.
Quick explained that the association is 71 years old, and was formed to create a cooperative between health care providers in South Florida. When she arrived in 1994, the member organizations were 100 percent hospitals. In 1996, the board made the decision to add other facilities such as medical centers, educational institutions, and companies throughout the health care community.
In speaking about one of the biggest challenges she faced when coming on board, Quick shared that she still has the minutes of the association's first board meeting from 1944, and one of the major items on the agenda was the nursing shortage. She said that was understandable, because in 1944 all the nurses had gone away to the war. "But at least once a decade, that has been a topic of conversation."
Quick discussed some strategies she pursued to help solve that problem. "One of the things we did a good job of was improving the image of the nursing profession – with the nursing leadership in this community, along with help and resources from Johnson & Johnson and our universities and health care institutions. We encourage young people to go into nursing, and we've certainly been successful with the gender gap – we have a lot more men in nursing than we once did. More people are enthusiastic about pursuing it than they once were."
She admitted that another strategy was to "steal" nurses from elsewhere in the country, targeting, for example, areas that have cold climates in winter. "We would encourage nurses to come here, straight out of school as a first-site career, or some of them in mid-to-late career, to come and work for five or 10 years and then retire. We had a pretty massive campaign in the early 2000s, and I think we were successful in bringing a large number of Northeastern and Midwestern nurses to South Florida."
Along with helping with the nursing shortage, Quick is pleased that SFHHA was supportive of the federal Affordable Care Act and getting more people insured. "The private sector part of it is working, 1.6 million people have signed up for health insurance, 400,000 of them right here in Hialeah."
However, an element of the ACA is the reason for her retiring. "We've spent the last five years trying to fully implement the Affordable Care Act. If you ask me why (I'm retiring) now, the answer would be because I can't get the legislature to see how important it is to expand coverage; I just don't have it in me to go to Tallahassee again to fight with those people. I've been trying for four years to get the legislature to take the $5 billion a year that the federal government is making available to Florida and we haven't been successful, and I think the organization deserves someone who is more enthusiastic about tilting at those windmills than I am."
No successor has been chosen, but Quick said Jaime Caldwell is the current vice president, and the board has voted him interim president while they continue their search.
Quick continued, "In general, I tend to be a collaborator and a coalition builder, but recently I find (an atmosphere) that's become more competitive and combative between providers. I'm not as comfortable with that as I am with coalition and cooperation."
Despite her frustrations, Quick has great appreciation for those involved with health care. "The people who work in the health care industry are an amazing group. They work very hard every day in every way to do the right thing, and they deserve a tremendous amount of praise. It's been a real exciting opportunity to represent them in some way; it's been an honor to be in the same room with them."
They, in turn, likely feel the same about Quick.

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