INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — There will be three new elected trustees sworn in for the Indian River County Hospital District in the upcoming new year, bringing the total number of trustees to seven.
For Seat 2, retired United Way CEO Michael Kint, 68, defeated Dr. Igor Khromov, 50, an Indian River County physician for over 20 years.
Kint received 58.89% of the vote, while Khromov received 41.11%, according to unofficial results from the Supervisor of Elections Office.
During the campaign, Khromov raised $1,375 in contributions; Kint raised $3,050.
Kint said he plans to focus his attention on local health and wellness services in the county. He would like to refine the district’s strategic plan and create metrics that help assess how the district performs in improving local primary and specialty care, as well as mental and behavioral health. Kint has been active in the Mental Health Collaborative for many years.
For Seat 4, incumbent Allen Jones, 80, was defeated by newcomer Paul Westcott, 58, who received 58.30% of the vote. Jones, the current treasurer, received 41.70% of the vote.
Jones had been a Hospital District trustee since he was appointed to the board in 2014 by then Gov. Rick Scott, and subsequently elected in 2015 and 2019.
But Westcott, a self-employed mediator, ran a strong campaign, with the issue of wanting to improve the district’s contract with Cleveland Clinic to operate the Indian River Hospital seeming to resonate with voters. Westcott said he wants to make Cleveland Clinic the best it can be to suit local residents. He wants the district to increase the choice of care within the community by supporting independent doctors and increase morale and pay for hospital employees.
Wescott raised the most money in the entire race for Hospital District, bringing in $14,937. Jones raised $5,000 in campaign contributions.
Three candidates, Dr. William Cooney, 79; Brian Gallagher, 71; and Jad Shalhoub, 27, faced-off for Seat 7, with Cooney receiving 38.53% of the vote. Gallagher received 31.43% and Shalhoub received 30.04%.
Cooney will be the first physician elected to the board since Dr. Omar Hussamy was elected in 2016. Hussamy served four months on the board before resigning.
For Seat 7, Shalhoub raised the most contributions, bringing in $5,520. Gallagher raised nothing during his campaign, while Cooney brought in $4,000 in contributions.
Cooney wants to see the community spend money more efficiently by treating the poor before they get to the emergency room. He would like to see individuals referred to primary care physicians before they seek care in the hospital emergency room. He’d also like to see improvements in treatment for mental health and substance abuse.
Incumbents Marybeth Cunningham (Seat 1) and Kerry Bartlett (Seat 6) will also serve new three-year terms on the Hospital District Board. Cunningham and Bartlett were unopposed.
The winners will take office Jan. 1, 2023
Term: 3 years