By Dale King
Boca Raton Community Hospital (now renamed Boca Regional Hospital) was in sad shape when Jerry Fedele walked through the door on his first day as its new president and CEO – it was Oct. 1, 2008, and the facility affectionately known as “The miracle on meadows Road” has losing vast amounts of money – as much as $120 million that year alone. many on staff were skeptical, Fedele recalled, and fears the healthcare center might be sold or shut down swept this well-to-do, but tightly knit south Palm Beach County city.
Fedele, who has already notified the Board of Directors that he will retire on Aug. 31, 2018, just days after his 65th birthday, told Boca’s Best magazine: “i remember that day well. It was a very exciting time, but one that was filled with challenges. i saw lots of opportunities, but at the same time, the physicians and board members were pessimistic. I remember thinking: we can do great things. i have to get the board and medical staff to think the same things.”
Eventually, he did. Boca Hospital amended its name from “Community” to “Regional” in 2010 to reflect its larger service area and a bump-up in the level, quality and variety of services.
The hospital is marking its 50th anniversary this year, and it has much to crow about as it completes a half-century of serving a city that has grown to nearly 100,000 residents – the second largest municipality in Palm Beach County. Day-to-day hospital operations are on solid ground these days, says Fedele – much more solid than nine years ago when the united states – and communities around the nation – were slumping into a precipitous recession.
While many credit Fedele with saving Boca Hospital, he stressed he didn’t do it on his own. He offered high praise to the management team that worked with him to effect the turnaround. Boca Regional is closely associated with residents, and even Fedele can be seen at many events and hospital-related activities.
Within 18 months of walking into Boca Hospital, “we broke even,” Fedele said. “Once we saved the hospital, it was all about redefining the vision. We started in 2010 to make the hospital the preeminent regional referral center. we also established the strategy for becoming an academic center for medical education.”
Looking ahead, Fedele says: “I’ve always been a zealot about patient satisfaction. I hope this emphasis doesn’t change under the new CEO. But things will be different. Things will continue to evolve.”
What he’ll leave behind, he says, is this: “we built strength in the balance sheets. we are on strong footing. we have grown the institution and its utilization. we have gone from 2008, when we were losing $120 million a year, to now, when we have grown and are having capacity problems. But those are good problems.”
The BRRH boss hasn’t decided what retirement will bring. He may do consulting or return to practicing law. He loves bike riding and photography, the latter a hobby he shares with Facebook friends. He’ll undoubtedly be seen around town, as he is now, with wife, Terry, and he’ll be spending time with his grown children.