Miami Beach

Miami Beach Chamber reconsiders and accepts Baptist Hospital as a member

Steven Sonenreich, president and chief executive officer of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, spoke to the executive board of the Miami Beach Chamber on March 3 about Baptist Health opening an urgent care center in the Beach. After he spoke, the executive board rejected Baptist’s application as a chamber member. The full chamber’s board reversed that and accepted Baptist into the chamber on Thursday, March 12, 2015.
Steven Sonenreich, president and chief executive officer of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, spoke to the executive board of the Miami Beach Chamber on March 3 about Baptist Health opening an urgent care center in the Beach. After he spoke, the executive board rejected Baptist’s application as a chamber member. The full chamber’s board reversed that and accepted Baptist into the chamber on Thursday, March 12, 2015. Miami Herald Staff

After the executive board of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce initially voted down Baptist Health's membership 10 days ago, the full board approved Baptist as a chamber member Thursday.

The vote was 38-1 during the special closed meeting, which was called March 6 by chamber board chairman Michael Goldberg.

The initial nay vote got the attention of community members and even Miami Beach City Hall, where Mayor Philip Levine decried the move. The vote had come during a closed meeting where Steve Sonenreich, CEO of Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, spoke before the executive board about Baptist’s plans to open an urgent care facility on Alton Road and Seventh Street.

Mount Sinai has raised concerns about the neighborhood impact of the proposed Baptist facility, which would include diagnostic services, outpatient surgery and medical offices.

Baptist representatives had said they remained interested in joining the chamber, and Goldberg wanted to resolve the issue by holding a full board vote before next month's regular meeting.

Thursday’s vote “sent a very strong message that Baptist is welcome in our community,’’ Goldberg said. “I appreciate Baptist’s patience and the way they handled it.”

Roymi Membiela, corporate vice president and chief marketing officer for Baptist, offered this statement in a text message Thursday:

“We are very pleased that Mayor Levine, the city commissioners and many members of the business community encouraged the chamber to reconsider its decision, and even nicer to hear from [chamber CEO and president Jerry] Libbin that our membership was approved “by a substantial majority.”

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