Aurelio M. Fernandez, III, FACHE
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT - Let's Connect
The South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum (SFHEF) is the local chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). SFHEF’s mission is to improve healthcare delivery by providing members with access to educational, networking and career development activities.
For the past 43 years, Aurelio Fernandez III, FACHE, has worked in healthcare in the South Florida area, spending the past 12 years with Memorial Healthcare System (MHS), and serving as its president and chief executive officer for the past three years.The system includes Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar, Memorial Hospital Pembroke and Memorial Manor nursing home.
“I’ve worked in hospitals, physician practices, joint ventures and more; I’ve done it all,” said Fernandez of his years of experience in the field, adding that he has worked in all three South Florida counties.
During his tenure as Memorial’s CEO, Fernandez has worked toward accomplishing five major goals. These include MHS becoming the safest healthcare system in the country; enhancing the culture of the organization; expanding pediatric care to Palm Beach County; becoming the most technologically advanced healthcare system in South Florida; and expanding the system’s clinical integrative model.
“I’m proud to say that we have met or expanded upon each goal,” Fernandez said.
In 2018, five Memorial Healthcare System hospitals were awarded an “A” for patient safety from the Leapfrog Group’s Fall 2018 Hospital Safety Grade, the highest grade available. For the last three rating periods, Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Regional Hospital South, Memorial Hospital Pembroke and Memorial Hospital West have earned an A. Memorial Hospital Miramar has earned A’s consecutively for all rating periods since 2015.
Fernandez has also created a corporate culture that attracts those who want to succeed. “Memorial has received 191,000 hits on its website from people looking for roles within the system,” said Fernandez, adding that the organization has hired 1.3 percent of those who applied.
The health system has introduced EPIC’s Healthy Planet platform, a population health management platform that compiles patient data, and technology is enabling advancements in telehealth and virtual health, including virtual rounding and iRounds. And a partnership with 1,500 physicians, including Holy Cross under the Atlantic Healthcare Network, has resulted in a shared savings model that puts approximately 150,000 patients under Memorial’s supervision.
“Memorial is currently in the process of expanding our pediatric presence in Palm Beach County, and we’re also looking at expanding our kidney transplant program and graduate medical education for our residency programs for physicians and nurses,” said Fernandez.
He added that MHS has partnered with Moffitt Cancer Center to provide bone marrow transplants, something that was not previously available in South Florida.
“This partnership brings a huge benefit to South Florida as Moffitt is the only comprehensive cancer program in Florida,” said Fernandez. “Having a pediatric specialty presence in Palm Beach also creates value; there are a lot of primary care pediatricians in the area, but there was a need for specialty pediatric care.”
As a leader, Fernandez understands the importance of networking and keeping in touch with other executives in the field. He joined the South Florida Healthcare Executive Forum (SFHEF) six years ago to set an example to future generations of healthcare professionals.
“Our organization values what SFHEF brings to the healthcare profession,” he said, adding that most of the CEOs and other executives in the Memorial system serve as either members or fellows in the organization. “We believe in leading by example.
“For me, networking is the most important aspect, but I think that newer folks can definitely benefit from the education and events that the organization provides,” he added. “There is a lot of value in helping to educate the younger generation on what is necessary. For young up-and-comers, I highly suggest it.”