Baptist Health hires president of Cleveland Clinic Florida to lead physician network

Baptist Health South Florida, the region’s largest hospital system, announced Wednesday the high-profile hiring of competitor Cleveland Clinic Florida’s president, Bernie Fernandez, to oversee Baptist’s extensive network of doctors, and the creation of a new executive post to help the healthcare giant better integrate physician and clinical care as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act.

Fernandez, an internist who specializes in vascular medicine, most recently was president of Cleveland Clinic Florida, which has hospitals in Weston and West Palm Beach, and practices a “fully integrated model” of more than 200 employed physicians who coordinate patient care in teams of primary-care doctors and specialists.

He will be chief executive of Baptist Health Medical Group, a network of more than 140 employed physicians, including specialists and primary-care doctors with offices from Miami Beach to the Upper Keys.

Fernandez fills the vacancy left by the creation of a new physician-executive role for Jack Ziffer, a radiologist and the first chief executive of Baptist’s medical group.

Ziffer was promoted to executive vice president and chief medical and clinical transformation officer, a role in which he will develop Baptist’s strategy for expanding its physician group and represent doctors’ interests. He also will oversee Baptist’s network of employed and independent doctors in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.