A Q&A with David Klein

As a candidate for the Hospital Board in Lee County, David Klein is happy to answer voters’ questions. Here, we’ve provided answers to frequently asked questions. However, if you don’t see what you’re looking for in these frequently asked questions, the candidate’s team would be happy to hear from you!

Why is voting for Hospital Board important?


Simply, because your health care depends on it. Lee Health and its hospitals are the most critical assets in our community’s health care system, and the Hospital Board alone is accountable for assuring that they are well managed.

This is a critical time for the Hospital Board as it balances being prepared for future COVID-19 cases, continuing to deliver high quality care for the full range of its services, maintaining financial strength and planning for future growth.

One thing you don’t want to skip on the ballot this year is the Hospital Board election. Its down-ballot position understates the importance of the election. However, it is well worth the time to research and to vote for the best leadership possible.


Why did you decide to run for the Hospital Board District 3 seat?


Giving back to one’s community is one of my core values. And it’s something I have practiced no matter where I have lived or what my job was. Many of my directorship and advisory roles are with not-for-profits. I receive tremendous satisfaction from helping them. Making a difference is what I do, and I have a track record to prove it.

I am an experienced, knowledgeable and successful health care business leader. Simply put, there is no one on the board today, or running in this race, like me. This is a major void that I fill.

Lee Health’s challenges are material and will grow over time. Lee Health needs to find a new normal post-COVID-19. This includes enabling treatment of all (not just COVID-19 patients), expanding capacity to handle our continued population growth and being ready for possible new competition.

I have a proven track record of helping large health care organizations redefine challenges to be opportunities where significant growth and performance improvement was then realized.



David Klein at a Glance

  • 30-plus-year career leading numerous health care and insurance companies
  • Served as CEO of a multi-billion-dollar insurance company with almost 2 million members
  • Served as CEO of health care delivery system with over 140,000 patients
  • Outstanding governance experience serving as chair, lead director or member of the boards of many not for profit and for profit health care companies
  • Passionate about delivering quality care to all while assuring strong financial performance
  • Professor or advisor to graduate programs in health administration at leading universities
  • Dedicated to serving his community, with a long history of volunteer leadership roles
  • Bonita Springs resident since 2005

How do you plan to help Lee Health as it navigates the challenges of COVID-19?

Currently, the board’s main priority is – and must continue to be –assuring the stabilization of the health system. There is nothing more important.

 We must ensure that public health initiatives are sensible. That means helping policymakers and the public balance their goals. First, to address various risks associated with the disease. Next, getting the economy moving again. 


Additionally, we need to ensure our doctors, nurses and other medical care personnel are protected. We want to minimize the risk of infection and burn out. This is particularly important given our shortage of physicians. 

What are your priorities as a Director?


Lee Health is an excellent system, as recognized by its four-star or near-four-star quality and “A” patient safety ratings. I would be honored to be a Director and would use my experience, knowledge and leadership to assure our system continues to perform at the highest level. 

Enhancing access, quality and service while managing revenue and expense is what health care executives do. This will be my primary focus as a director. 

While we need to continue to pay special attention to Lee Health’s preparedness for and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, I would also focus on:

  • Having Lee Health be the system of choice for doctors, enhancing physician recruitment and retention, and bringing our physician staffing to state – if not national – average levels to assure ready access to care.
  • Assuring quality across all sites of care including telemedicine and ambulatory care
  • Assuring efficient and effective care delivery to help make it more affordable. This is becoming a very significant issue as noted by the recent increase in the level of, and recent increases in, write-offs. With telemedicine, there is a growing opportunity to avoid admissions and treat more at home, including in nursing homes. Being efficient and effective becomes essential as Medicare, Medicaid and insurers move toward paying a fixed amount for caring for a patient through their value-based reimbursement programs versus today’s fee for services delivered approach.
  • Providing funds to subsidize patients who simply can’t afford care.
  • Expanding mental health and substance abuse services which are currently underserved. Note, this may become even more important because of the potential long-term PTSD effects of COVID-19.
  • Improving employee recruitment, satisfaction and retention. This has a direct impact on patient satisfaction.
  • Creating scale through mergers and affiliations to have large enough patient volumes to support centers of excellence, as well as to achieve savings.

Also on the horizon, and needing management’s attention, is the possible increase in competition resulting from last year’s repeal of Certificate of Need legislation.

Consistent with the system’s mission, the Board should also be addressing health disparities and inequities alongside the Lee County office of the Florida Department of Health.

There is more to do than there is money to fund. We must be disciplined about setting priorities and achieving our plans if we are to become nationally recognized as a leading delivery system.

This is how leaders in the business of health care manage for success.

What are your qualifications to serve as an effective Hospital Board Director?

There is no one on the Hospital Board or the ballot with the health care or even the general business leadership experience that I have. Yet, Lee Health is a $2 billion, 14,000 employee business. This is a major void that I can fill.

My lifelong values regarding health care are the same as Lee Health: To respectfully deliver excellent, compassionate care from outstanding practitioners and health care providers.

My key qualifications are:

  • 30+ years of health care executive experience
  • Ten years as CEO of a nationally ranked, not-for-profit, $6 billion health insurance company that covered nearly 2 million members
  • Ten years as CEO of an innovative delivery system that cared for 140,000 patients
  • Serving as a community member of the Lee Health Finance and Investment Committee and unpaid advisor to Lee Health senior management
  • Significant governance experience, including roles as chair, lead director and director of both not-for-profit and for- profit health care and non-health care companies located across the country
  • Serving as an advisor to health care venture capital and private equity funds
  • I maintain extensive current health care industry knowledge and relationships which I would bring to Lee Health.
  • Serving as a professor of public health sciences at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and a special advisor to their medical center CEO/Dean of the medical school
  • Having a legacy of giving back to my community, including serving as board chair of significant community organizations including United Way and Boy Scouts
  • Being a resident of Lee County since 2005

In your mind, what is the role of a Hospital Board Director?

The primary job of a board member is to assure Lee Memorial Health System fulfills its mission of compassionately caring for the residents of Lee County. Specifically, by advocating for the balance of excellence and a sound budget. 

This occurs through the Hospital Board Directors effectively:

  • Recruiting and managing the CEO
  • Approving the strategy, operational plan and budget developed by the CEO
  • Monitoring performance
  • Holding the CEO accountable for achieving the plan and budget.

Special attention by the director is afforded to capital expenditures like building a new hospital or center, as well as quality, satisfaction and patient safety.

Importantly, the position maintains a direct board relationship with the medical staff. In fact, when it comes to achieving a health system’s mission, nothing is more important than the physicians, and in many ways, the hospitals are their workshops. Understanding and meeting their needs is crucial.

Finally, there are regulatory and compliance roles, as specified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Florida Department of Health.

Vote for David Klein like our community’s health care depends on it...
because it does.

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