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  • scott wester new memorial healthcare system ceo

    South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners Selects K. Scott Wester, FACHE, as New President and Chief Executive Officer for Memorial Healthcare System

    The South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners has chosen K. Scott Wester, FACHE, as Memorial Healthcare System’s President and Chief Executive Officer. Wester recently served as Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Advocacy for Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System in Baton Rouge, La. He succeeds Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, FACHE, who retired in May 2022. Wester is scheduled to start on July 5, 2022.

    The Board of Commissioners, who oversee all actions of Memorial Healthcare System, worked with the executive search firm WittKieffer to recruit nationally for a new president and CEO for Memorial. Wester’s impressive 30-year healthcare career and expertise in healthcare management and operations, finance, academia, philanthropy, and ability to build successful partnerships, among other attributes, made him the best choice to lead Memorial.

    “We are excited about the future and the impact Scott will have at Memorial and in this community. His expertise, approachable leadership style, and overall knowledge and understanding of our industry and community will help him lead this organization to greater heights,” said Douglas A. Harrison, Chair, South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners. “We welcome Scott and look forward to working with him.”

    In his previous position, Wester led a historic $250 million partnership with Louisiana State University and Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center that involved graduate medical education, research, interdisciplinary sciences and created greater alignment and workforce development. This included building a career pathway within the East Baton Rouge School System to prepare students for healthcare careers upon high school graduation and a partnership with Baton Rouge Community College to double its healthcare career enrollment.

    Wester also served as president and Chief Executive Officer for Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge for 14 years (2008-2022). During his tenure, he grew the Center’s revenue from $500 million to $1.6 billion; raised more than $55 million in capital campaign dollars that were used to build a free-standing children’s hospital; recruited over 400 physicians; received Magnet designation three times, and led the transition from a community-based hospital to a nationally recognized major academic teaching hospital under a complex agreement with Louisiana State University School of Medicine and the State of Louisiana. He also had oversight of business development, advocacy, and strategic partnerships, which resulted in multiple acquisitions of acute and surgical facilities, affiliations to increase cancer care, pediatric and women services within the health system. Additionally, Wester facilitated Medicaid supplemental payments for hospitals and employed physician groups with the State of Louisiana.

    A magna cum laude graduate of Saint Louis University with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and classical humanities, Wester went on to earn his master’s of hospital and health administration (MHA) from Xavier University in Cincinnati. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare, which awarded him its Regent’s Award in 2020, and he has served in numerous civic organizations.

    Wester was attracted to Memorial because of its culture and employees. “I felt a consistency of culture and community dedication from every person I met at Memorial during my interviews,” said Wester. “I look forward to applying the tools I have gathered in my 30-year career to help propel this organization and work closely with Memorial’s workforce and other stakeholders to achieve the best for all.”

  • dr. wayne pollack mcvi logo

    Do You Know Your Calcium Score?

    With heart disease causing one in every four deaths among American adults, it’s critical to know how healthy your heart is. Fortunately, there is a quick and simple way to get a detailed look inside with a specialized heart scan known as a coronary calcium scoring CT scan.

    The non-invasive procedure takes a series of X-ray images of the heart, looking for plaque inside the arteries. This makes it an excellent option for many patients to determine their risk of serious problems.

    Scans are particularly useful for people who don’t necessarily have any heart-related symptoms, but who may be at increased risk for heart disease or other conditions. The higher the score, the more likely it is that arteries carrying blood have become at least partially blocked.

    “That knowledge is something that will change the management of the patient both from the patient's perspective and the physician’s perspective,” said Wayne Pollak, MD, a cardiologist at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute.

    The scan looks in the heart’s arteries for plaque, which is made up of materials like cholesterol, fats and calcium. Once plaque is present, it can begin building up over time. This narrows the size of the artery’s opening and restricts blood flow. Restricted blood flow to the heart can cause blockages that put a patient at greater risk of severe issues, including heart disease or a heart attack. In addition to restricting blood flow, plaque deposits can break open and form a clot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These clots can cause heart attacks, which happen in more than 800,000 Americans every year.

    Getting a calcium score detects these plaque build ups early, before they get worse. The earlier these buildups are detected, the sooner doctors can prescribe medications or suggest lifestyle changes that may decrease the risk of heart problems down the line.

    Scans are most useful for those with an increased risk of heart disease or diabetes but do involve radiation and require a prescription. Some of the factors considered in determining risk include a family history of heart disease, age, diabetes, cholesterol levels, blood pressure levels, and lifestyle habits.

    To learn more and/or make an appointment, visit our Heart Scan page or call 954-276-5500.

  • Marc first harmony valve patient

    Memorial is First in South Florida to Use ‘Harmony’ for Valve Replacement

    Marc Chatzky may not feel like a cardiac pioneer, but he is, at least in South Florida. The Deerfield Beach resident was the first to have a defective pulmonary valve replaced without open-heart surgery, instead using a minimally-invasive transcatheter procedure and the recently-approved Harmony™ valve.

    The approach, which enabled Chatzky to avoid the pain and extended recovery time of an open-heart surgery, was done in the Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute’s cardiac catheterization lab. It involved inserting the Harmony valve into the heart via a tube fed through a vein in the groin, with the device expanding to a shape and size that fit Chatzky’s heart after placement, a marked improvement over traditional-sized valves.

    For Chatzky, who had several open-heart surgeries as a child to correct congenital heart issues, the new approach fit his current lifestyle. He was back on his feet the day after the procedure and back to work shortly after. “It was better than being out for maybe six months and I was quickly back to doing normal things. Now my bosses are trying to slow me down because I’m working too much,” Chatzky joked.

    Smart Snippet: Video
    Datasource: First Harmony Valve Procedure      

    The procedure was completed by a team led by the co-medical directors of Memorial’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease program, Drs. Todd Roth and Larry Latson, with an assist from Dr. Tom Forbes and Dr. Peter Guyon, interventional cardiologists at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital's Heart Institute.

    “Once we’ve determined that the patient meets criteria that a pulmonary valve is necessary, we go through a series of testing to make sure that the Harmony valve is appropriate for that patient’s anatomy,” Roth said. “Our being the first in the region to do this procedure speaks to our innovation as a center of excellence for adult congenital heart disease care.”

    For Chatzky, who had been experiencing chest pain and whose heart was actively failing him, the procedure was just what the patient ordered.