Clewiston, FL – After over 30 years of service to the public on the Hendry Regional Medical Center Hospital Authority Board, Miller Couse will step down this November. He reflects on his time served on the board and the roll HRMC plays in the fabric of Hendry County and the surrounding communities.
Couse was originally appointed by then Florida Governor Bob Martinez in 1987, and was re-elected by the constituents of District 4 for the next three decades. As a community leader he found the appointment and years of service an easy calling.
“Healthcare is very important and is in the fabric of our community as it is used by everyone” stated Couse. “Having a hospital makes a community pleasant to live in. You do not have to drive 60+ miles to receive basic healthcare services, and the emergency department is available in your time of need.”
During his first few years on the board, the Hospital was in financial trouble and the administrator had just left. The board made the decision to bring on a professional management company to oversee and make changes for the better; this management relationship still exists today and provides fiscal responsibility and stability with strong leadership.
Hendry County has a high un-insured, self-pay population and as such Hendry Regional depends on the ad valorem tax dollars it receives. Couse always took into consideration both the constituents and patients thoughts and feelings when making budgetary decisions. As such the hospital in 2017 provided over $2.7 million in community benefits over and above the tax dollars it receives, a trend that has continued for years.
When asked to reflect on the top moments of serving on the board the last decades he easily answered the grand opening of the LaBelle Convenient Care Center (2011), the new Emergency Department (2011) and the Medical & Rehabilitative Services Building (2017). He reflects that these accomplishments could not have happened without the backing of the HRMC Foundation. “The funds raised reflect what the people in our community think of the hospital as they continue to give generously year after year,” stated Couse.
Hendry County is poised for great growth in the coming years which will allow the legacy Couse created to thrive. 31 years is a long time to serve an organization and be dedicated to its mission, he sees so much talent in the County and is excited for the future.
Elaine Wood, Senior Vice-President & Chief Financial Officer of US Sugar has been elected to fill the District 4 seat on the Hospital Authority Board and will begin her first term in December. “US Sugar built the original hospital in 1937, and I am excited to see their willingness to engage with Hendry Regional and continue the long legacy they started,” stated Couse.
Couse views the hospital as the ultimate insurance policy, “you hope you never have to use it, but it is there in your time of need and comfort.” He will continue to be involved with Hendry Regional through the HRMC Foundation and leaves a long legacy of leadership from his tenure as a dedicated public servant.