Fiu Health Ceo Fernando Valverde Gears For Accreditation At College Of Medicine Targets Medical City For The Campus
As head of FIU Health, Florida International University’s educational and clinical enterprise, Fernando Valverde is putting his 30 years of experience to work for South Florida health care.
Before joining the FIU team, Mr. Valverde worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He founded a medical management company that oversaw the operation of 15 medical offices, 50 physicians and 500 employees.
He continued to head the enterprise once the company sold to a national competitor. Under his leadership the company grew to boast 1,000 employees, 70 medical offices and $250 million in revenue.
In his 30 years, Mr. Valverde has seen the health care industry change firsthand.
"It’s changed from a fragmented industry to a very well-organized, corporate environment where you have large HMOs, large hospital systems," he said. "Physician practices now are 50 to 100 in one group practice. It’s gone from a fragmented system to a much more consolidated industry.
"Miami was one of the first areas in the country to begin this consolidation process, and so we had the whole program of 50 hospitals scattered throughout South Florida. Now we have four or five large hospital systems, because it’s all consolidated in an industry for HMOs."
But as Miami health care consolidates, FIU is trying to expand. Mr. Valverde said that he hopes to partner with an affiliate clinical hospital system to bring a "medical city" to the campus.
"The medical city concept is basically developing clinical sites in one area of FIU, which is the northeast corner," he said. "It’s at 107th [Avenue] and Eighth Street, and in that northeast corner we have 20 to 25 acres of land that allows us to develop an area that will have clinical, research and education all in one area."
While Mr. Valverde’s role as associate dean of the College of Medicine places him at the helm of all business development efforts, he also works as a professor at the university.
In a mission to train South Florida’s finest, FIU Health works with its many educational partners to place students in health systems that will best allow them to perfect their field of study.
"This is an opportunity for us to determine which one of these hospital systems we think has the best service on a particular specialty to get our students education," he said. "We sort of cherry-picked, if you will, for these affiliations — the best venues for our students to be educated."
The school’s diverse curriculum and attention to detail has caught the attention of many local and international med-school applicants. FIU’s medical school has grown significantly in its first three years — a trend that Mr. Valverde hopes to continue with its next class of students.
"The college accepted its first class in ’09," he said. "We had 3,200 applicants for 40 spots and it was a highly-contested process to accept these 40 students. The majority — 70% to 80% — come from the state of Florida. The second class was 80 students, and now the third class is 80 students as well. The fourth class is going to be 120 students… Every year we have over 4,000 applicants for these positions. We’re selecting some very highly qualified, well-diversified individuals."