Jerome N. Conger oral history interview

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Jerome N. Conger oral history interview

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Jerome N. Conger oral history interview
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University of South Florida -- Library. -- Special & Digital Collections. -- Oral History Program

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Oral history ( local )
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Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.
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interviewed by E. Charlton Prather.

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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C53-00005 ( USFLDC DOI )
c53.5 ( USFLDC Handle )

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subfield code a C53-000052 USFLDC DOI0 245 Jerome N. Conger oral history interviewh [electronic resource] /c interviewed by E. Charlton Prather.500 Full cataloging of this resource is underway and will replace this temporary record when complete.7 655 Oral history.localOnline audio.local710 University of South Florida.b Library.Special & Digital Collections.Oral History Program.1 773 t USF College of Public Health oral history project4 856 u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?c53.5


xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 transcript
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text E. Charlton Prather: Well, its a pleasure to have with us this morning Mr. Jerry Conger, a long-time associate of Floridas public health system, who came up through the ranks, so to speak, from environmental health into comprehensive health planning and other very notable pieces of Floridas public health history.
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Mr. Conger, its a pleasure to have you here today, and I just thank you for your willingness to come and share some of your observations about the progress of public health in this state. To begin, though, what ever got you interested in public health?
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Jerome Conger: Oh, thatsIve been thinking about that, Dr. Prather. Its really a pleasure to be here. I thank you for inviting me. Now, what got me into public health? After I graduated from the University of Miami, I was working at the post office with a degree in botany, a minor in biology. And I said, What am I doing working at the post office?
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And I started looking around for other opportunities. And I ran across an ad in the newspaper: Florida State Board of Health seeking employees. Call such-and-such. So, I called the number in Jacksonville. And I was put through to one of the fellas I really wished you had on tape, and that was Dr. George Dame.
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CP: Oh, my.
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JC: I know you remember him.
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CP: As an aside, we have him through the voice of his son.
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JC: Oh, wonderful.
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CP: Yes.
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JC: Dr. Dame was thehe was running the Bureau of Local Health Serviceswell, Im not sure thats the name of the bureau, at that time.
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CP: Yes, it was. I can confirm that. Yes, it was.
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JC: And they were looking for sanitarians, and I didnt even know what a sanitarian was, so, my first question was, What is a sanitarian? He explained it to me and told me about the training program that they offered in order to train individuals to work in public healthto become sanitarians.
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Well, the long and short of that is: I went to Jacksonville, I was interviewed, and I was hired to go to a sanitarian training program in Gainesville, which was a three-month program.
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CP: Really?
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JC: Uh-huh. And we spent three months there, learning what communicable diseases were, learning what environmental health issues consisted of, learning how to build privies.
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CP: I would hope so.
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JC: Sanitary pit privies was one of the things that we had to learn how to build. Learning all about water supplies, food sanitation, that sort of thing. So, thats how I got into it; I was in a class of, I believe, eight individuals; we went through that for three months, and at the end of three months
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CP: This was at the University of Florida in Gainesville?
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JC: This waswell, no. It was actually run bythrough the Alachua County Health Department.
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CP: All right, yes.
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JC: And the staff of the training program were mostly people out of Jacksonville from the State Board of Health.
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CP: Oh, okay.
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JC: Claude Walker was one of the trainers. Russell Jackson was one of the trainerstraining in food sanitation. Dr. Dame was involved, and Ive really forgotten some of the others, but it was a wonderful experience.
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CP: Was it a good course?
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JC: It was an excellent course. And it
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CP: Looking back on it, do you feel like you really had a pretty good preparation?
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JC: I think that was a good grounding; it gave me the basics, and, of course, I had an awful lot to learn. And that learningthe opportunity to learn, I think, is one of the things I really, really admired about the organization. State Board of Health always provided excellent opportunities for training, for education.
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At the end of that program, we were then interviewed by representatives of county health departments, because of all us to work in different county health departments. And I was interviewed by representatives of several health departments, including the Palm Beach County Health Department.
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And Dr. Carl Brumback, who was just that wonderfulstill is a wonderful fella.
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CP: He still is.
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JC: He was the relatively new county health officer in Palm Beach County. He and his chief sanitarian, Joe Alvarez, and his engineer, Bob Eddie all came up to Gainesville, and wereinterviewed all of us.
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CP: Wow.
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JC: And I ended up being selected to go to work in the Palm Beach County Health Department as a brand new drain sanitarian. (CP laughs) So, thats how I got into public health.
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CP: (laughs) How was your experience in Palm Beach?
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JC: Oh, it was outstanding. They, of course, put me through an in-service training program there; I spent a good deal of time working with the public health nurses, the sanitarians, the engineer, the nutritionists, the veterinarian
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CP: You did?
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JC: I did, and I spent time with all of those people for a couple of months, and then they turned me loose into the It was probably the worst part of Palm Beach County, almost. (CP laughs) Because my job was to go out and convince an awful lot of people who didnt wantthey need to get rid of their insanitary privies, and install (inaudible) release, and thats hard to think of in Palm Beach County. But thats the way it was.
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CP: Today, thats hard to imagine, yes.
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JC: So, I spent several months doing that and working on very basic sanitation problems. It included, of course, inspecting restaurants, working with subdivisions as they were installing septic tanks, inspecting new private drinking water wells, taking care of complaints. We had had a lot of complaints about insanitary conditions, and those were the things that pretty much occupied my time for the first year or so.
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CP: Yeah. Was it fun?
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JC: Well, it wasnow that I look back, it was fun. At the time, it was really tough work.
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CP: Yeah, I can imagine. But I was sitting here thinking you were out to convince people to get rid of their insanitary privy and put in a sanitary privy. Your size would help carry the day, I would hope.
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JC: Well, I guess it helped, because we didnt have much to go on, in terms of enforcement powers. If a problem was serious enough, we could take it to the Justice of the Peace; but the JPs in those days were really not very sympathetic, and we had to have an overwhelming problem before they would fine somebody or put em in jail.
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Ill give you an exampleone that always stays in my mind: there was awe had a complaint about an individual who had no toilet facilities.
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CP: No toilet facilities?
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JC: None at all.
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CP: Okay.
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JC: He had used a pot. And when he had the pot filled up, he would take it out and fling it over the back fence, and the people that lived in the back didnt like it. (CP laughs) Naturally, I wouldnt, either. So, it was called into the health department; I had to go out. That man was a lunatic. (CP laughs) Absolutely would not listen to me. I talked to him and I talked to him, and he finallyGet out of here before I shoot you. So, I left. Naturally, I didnt want to be shot.
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CP: Yeah, I understand.
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JC: I went back to the office and I was looking for the chief sanitarian, Joe Alvarez; Joe was out somewhere. I end up getting Bob Eddie, who was our engineer, and Bob was a very dignified fellow, (inaudible) coat and a tie, and he was used to dealing engineers and architects. And I said, Bob, I need some help. Ive got this maniac out there, cmon with me. (CP laughs)
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We went outthis was the following daywent out and the man was up, painting his house. I dont know why he was painting his house when he had no toilet. (CP and JC laugh)
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CP: Well, he wanted a pretty house.
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JC: Yeah, he wanted a pretty house. So, we arrived, got out of the car, walked up there; he saw me, got down from the ladder with the paint bucket in his hand, and started flinging paint at us. (CP laughs) Chased Bob and I around the house a couple of times, and we left, because the man was actually trying to paint us. (CP and JC laugh) Specklespeckled up Bob withyou know, his nice clotheswith paint.
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Well, we did take him to the Justice of the Peace. And this took about two months. Justice of the Peace did fine him; the man did finally put in a pit privy, but it tookit took it mustve taken six months. So, that was just one experience that stays in my head.
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CP: You know, I cant help but wonder, you were so involved with getting rid of, one, getting priviesand you obviously had a lot of surface priviesyou were trying to get in pitsanitary privies.
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JC: Thats(affirmative murmurs)
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CP: What consideration was there given to sanitary disposal? Sewage collecting systems?
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JC: That wasthat was just(inaudible) think about that. And, of course, neither are the rural areas of Palm Beach.
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CP: Of course.
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JC: So, theirthe economies of scale just werent there. Trying to run a sewer line out in these rural areas was not practical. So, the option was a septic tank and running water, which was preferable, and which we always went after. Or a sanitary privy. Nowadays, those areas of Palm Beach County are fully condominiums, apartments, shopping centers, and sewer systems. You know? It was a different world.
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CP: That sounds like an exciting time in your life. You did this one and a half, two years.
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JC: Yes.
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CP: You did general sanitation.
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JC: (affirmative murmurs)
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CP: Immy first memory of you is an environmental health consultant.
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JC: Right, right.
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CP: Am I jumping you too fast?
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JC: No, no. Thats afterI think I was about three years going general sanitation. And I mentioned earlier that one of the things I wasIm just so proud of, in terms of what the State Board of Health did, was the opportunity they offered to send people off to school. They had a graduate training program. I applied for it, and I was given a scholarship to study for a Masters in Public Health. I went to Tulane University and got my Masters Degree in Public Health.
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CP: Oh, all right.
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JC: That wasthat was when I took my next step, came back after a year at Tulane, and served as the Assistant Chief Sanitarian of Palm Beach County for another year or two, and
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CP: Oh, you did? That was aWow!
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JC: That was a little promotion.
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CP: Yes.
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JC: Yes, that was nice.  About that time, the State Board of Health formed a new division of sanitation.
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CP: Ah, yes.
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JC: And brought a fellow youve already interviewed One of my mentors, Buddy Morrison, came up from Dade County to run the division of sanitation. And Buddy was recruiting for consultants who would work with county health departments. I applied for the job, and the long and short of it is he hired me. And I moved to Jacksonville and the State Board of Health to work as a sanitation consultant for Buddy Morrison.
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CP: Yes. All right.
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JC: That was the next step. Then what happened? You dont know? Yes, you do; you were there. (CP laughs)
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CP: No, I want you to talk about being a consultant. You were the first environmental health consultant that weve had privilege to talk about. Tell us a little bit, for the record and for future researchers, what is an environmental health consultant?
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JC: Well, our job was basically to consult with the county health departments, and we had to stay broken up into, I believe, five or six divisions. Anyhow, I was in North Florida, northeastern North Florida, running over to TallahasseeJacksonville, Tallahassee, down through Gainesville, that was generally my territory.
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And my job was to work with the county health departments and the chief sanitarians in helping them to evaluate and plan, and to improve their environmental health programs across the board.
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CP: Oh, all right.
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JC: So, that was a major responsibility. Then, we had other responsibilities in the division. We were responsible for the licensure of mobile home parks. We had responsibilities working with the nursing home consultants, and doing state level work there. We had the responsibility for reviewing and revising and updating the environmental sanitation regulations. So, the foodservice regulations, (inaudible) regulations, septic tank regulations, so forth.
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Now, a lot of that we worked with the, of course, the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering and the Bureau of Entomology; but there was a good partnership because those were all environmental concerns. With the milk sanitation program, they had their ownof course, they had their own consultantsbut we worked with them. So, it was a program that cut across the board, it hit all environmental concerns.
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A third component, and probably the most important, was we had the responsibility for training new sanitarians. You remember I mentioned that I had gone through the program in Gainesville?
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CP: Yes.
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JC: Well, that program became our responsibility, and we started to conduct the training in Jacksonville. So one of the things I didand I know you were involved inis I helped to train, teach, beginning sanitarians as to what their responsibilities were.
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CP: Yes. Yeah, ishow long was that course when yall first started? Do you remember? I know they would come, but they were still stayed under your tutorage [tutelage] for some time after they went back home.
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JC: Well, as best as I can recall, it was about a twelve-week course.
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CP: Okay. Yeah, thats good, three months. All right. Well then, thats a good piece of history that we didntweve not had an opportunity to hear.
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JC: We had in the division, under Buddys guidanceI think we made some real advancements in the food handling, sanitation, the training, the regulations in the state. We spent an awful lot of time working with the county health departments and their sanitarians, putting on food service training programs for the health departments, and forwith the health departments for food service workers around the state.
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CP: Or industry itself.
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JC: Yes.
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CP: Okay. How did industry accept this?
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JC: Well, there was some reluctance. It really depended on the ability of the local health department. If it was a good, strong, local health department, who had a good relationship with the restaurant industry, with the food industry, then it worked fine.
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CP: As Im recalling, that started as a volunteer program endorsed by the Florida Restaurant Association; but in due course, it became law.
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JC: Yes.
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CP: Yeah, and that wasin fact And you was [were] involved with all that groundbreaking programming.
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JC: All of that, it was really was a great adventure. It really was. There was so much going on in Florida, and the board of health was such a good environment, a good work environment. We had a lot of support; Dr. Sowder just ran a very good operation. The state board itself was very supportive.
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JC: The legislature pretty much left us alone. I know that every couple of years, they would meet, and we would ask for amendments to certain laws. We would ask for a budget, and usually, they gave Dr. Sowder and the board what he asked for. So, it was a good environment to work in.
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CP: Im recalling that you helped with trying to convince the legislature of these things. Youd come over as a non-paid lobbyist.
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JC: Yes, thats right. Buddy Morrison was one of our chief representatives to the legislature; he and Fred Ragland, and, of course, Dr. Sowder; and then, the individual division directors as needed. But Buddy was over it, most of the time.
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And the job got so big that he and Fred needed assistance. And so I started coming over, too, to help out; to sort of keep track of legislation, and to keep things organized, and occasionally to go over and testify before one of the committees if Buddy or Fred or Dr. Sowder or somebody was tied up somewhere else.
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I remember one occasion in particular that always sticks in my mind. This was back when we trying, without much success, to require the fluoridation of Floridas public water supplies. And you remember that.
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CP: I remember that well.
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JC: That was a very big issue, a very big fight; and, for some reason, it fell [to] my lot to go and testify before a House committee. The committee was made up of mostly rural legislators who hated the idea; it was a terrible idea, they thought. And it brought init was really the typical little old lady in tennis shoes. (CP laughs) She came, and she wasIve forgotten her name, but she actually wore a smock, a great big straw hat, and tennis shoes. (CP laughs)
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And she wasshe was eighty or thereabouts, and she was rabid foe of fluoridation. (CP laughs) She testified and I testified; and I had to get into a discussiona debate with her, which I lost, just flat out. There was no way(CP laughs)no way I could win that argument. And, of course the legislators were not sympathetic at all.
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CP: (affirmative murmurs, laughs)
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JC: But theyusually, we did better. It was justas you know, this was such a tough issue; it took many, many years.
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CP: Yep. It finally came.
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JC: It finally came.
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CP: Yeah. But the same little old lady came back to have it abolished for the next four or five years.
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JC: Oh, yes, she did. Indeed she did.
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CP: I suspect you have a lot of legislature stories in queue. How did you enjoy the legislative process? Im thinking of futureof young, public health types, that we got to be involved with the legislative process.
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JC: Theres just no way to avoid it. Itswell, I think if youre honest, and you provide good technical informationyou know what youre talking aboutand you treat legislators with respect that they deserve, that its a good experience. The bad part of it is that frequently, as youre serving as an advocate for the public interest, there are a lot of people on the other side wearing black hats that are really not interested in that; theyre interested in their own personal interests, their own gain.
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And it sometimes gets pretty testy, when youre up against organized opposition to something youre trying to do. But it is a challenge, and it is fun. You just have to keep your perspective about it and dont give up. But youre right; its something that really has to be done. Otherwise, the public programs would really suffer.
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CP: Yeah, we really are representing the public interest. Thats why were there. You were partial to the laws that had to do with septic tanks.
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JC: (affirmative murmurs) Yes.
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CP: All that happened during your watch.
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JC: Yes. I was a small part of it. It wasthat was, of course, another very big fight going through all of that.
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CP: Mostly small counties, against; and the big cities, for.
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JC: Yes.
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CP: County government in Palm Beach, against; contrasted Palm Beachthe city of Palm Beach, for. Those were testy days.
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JC: Yes, yes.
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CP: Yeah, I remember seeing sweat on your brow and some other stuff.
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JC: Oh, you were involved in a lot of that stuff, and it was really quite a challenge in an interesting time.
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CP: (laughs) Yes, it was.
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JC: And fortunately, in those days, we only had to do it forwell, for many years, up until nineteenI guess, was it 69 when the constitution?
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CP: Yes.
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JC: In any event, it was only every two years. We did have to work with the legislators individually throughout the years, but only once every two years did we have to come over here and actually spend sixty days working on these issues.
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CP: Yes. Yeah. I hear from the tone of your voice that thats some happy times in your life.
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JC: Yes, they were. There were times
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CP: (inaudible) challenging.
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JC: Times of growth and good experiences, and I really did enjoy it.
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CP: And it set you in good stead for future assignments.
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JC: Well, one of
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CP: That training. And I would remind you of what you said: the State Board of Health provided good training.
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JC: Yes, it did.
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CP: And even this one was good for you, as I recall your history.
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JC: It was. It gave me the opportunity of working with the legislative process. It gave me the opportunity to learn even more about the overall operation of the State Board of Health and public health.  (clears throat) Excuse me. So, I did get a better grounding; I had an opportunity to work with all of the division directors. And that was important, because I got to know a lot of people who (inaudible) beter.
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CP: Yeah, and the in and outs of the program. And how it all fit together into a meaningful whole.
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JC: Yes. Aboutduring that period, Dr. Sowder and others, as the board of health grew and the public health program grew, he determined that there was a need for more planning, evaluation, and research, so he set up an office, a planning office, brought in Dr. Malcolm Ford. Did youhave you talked to Dr. Ford?
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CP: He has passed on.
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JC: Oh, has he? Im sorry.
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CP: Yeah. I was, too. I was.
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JC: He was a real gentleman.
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CP: Yes, he was.
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JC: They brought in Dr. Ford to head up the planning office, and Dr. Ford looked for some staff, some planners, and I applied for the job because it was an opportunity to do broader work in public health. And I was hired, and I did some early planning and evaluation of public health programs under Dr. Ford and Dr. Sowder. So, that was when I moved from environmental health to a broader assignment in the public health program.
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CP: And your total experience up to this point prepared you uniquely for that job.
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JC: I think it did, just because I had so much opportunity to be exposed to so much of the overall workings.
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CP: All the basics. I think Dr. Ford recognized that, too, in hiring you. Talk about that some. What did you do? What was your original thrust? What caused you to be youthats a very editorial you. Now, what caused Sowder to suddenly be interested in formal planning and evaluation? Clearly, he had been a planner; clearly, he had been an evaluator, all of his profession.
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JC: No doubt. Because the structure that he helped build illustrated that. It was notwas (inaudible) casual. It was well-thought-out and well-developed.
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I think it was a combination of things. There was more interest at the federal level in the overall health economics, health planning, public health; there was a lot of things going on up there. In our state legislature, our agency had grown so rapidly, because Florida was growing so rapidly, that some of the programs really no longer fit the (inaudible) of what he wanted to do and what he set us to doing.
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Once we examined those programsit looked like they needed evaluation and perhaps strengthening. We looked at theat our health education program as aas the example, because of its importance throughout the state. So, that was one of the early programs we studied carefully, did some evaluation on, made some recommendations on.
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CP: (affirmative murmurs) Who was director of health education, just for the record and my interest?
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JC: Well, that was Elizabeth Reed, of course. And Elizabeth was just a wonderful director.
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CP: She sure was.
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JC: Elizabeth passed on during that period. And it was really a great loss, because she had built a wonderful health education program. We looked at a number of environmental programs and other activities. The
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CP: That health education, thoughand this was your teeth-cutting exercise, I gather, in evaluateprogram evaluation, is health education.
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JC: Yes.
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CP: And, as you said, its a pillar of basic public health programming, is health education.
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JC: Absolutely.
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CP: What did you find? Is it useful to talk about your finding, and what happened as a result of your finding? And who got your findings?
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JC: Well, I dont know. Gee, its been so long that Im not sure(CP laughs)Im not sure I can provide you with any details.
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CP: It dontdont make me push you into talking details with you on health.
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JC: Well, we looked at the personnel and the staffing and the budget; and, as I recall it, made some recommendations about strengthening all of those things, and strengthening the organizational structure at the board of health, and the county health departments; and used some of that information as far as building up a budget request to get additional resources in the program. Now, thats an over-simplification of what we did.
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CP: Thats okay. As you remember, did you involve county health departments very much in your process?
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JC: Well, not a great deal.
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CP: Okay.
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JC: Not a great deal. There was consultation with some of the county health officers. And, of course, not all the county health departments had health educators; but we did confer with those that were available, in order to get their input as to what was missing, what was needed, that sort of thing.
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So, that was basically the thrust of it. As a consequence of that, some year or two laterthis was about the time that the division lost its directorDr. Sowder assigned me to serve as the acting director of the division. And that was a very interesting experience. It was very short; I was there about, maybe, six months.
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CP: Thats okay. It was another learning experience.
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JC: It was. It was a very good experience, learning the ins and outs of the library. You know, we had a fine library.
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CP: Yes, we did.
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JC: We had a fine film library.
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CP: Yes, we did.
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JC: I guess we still do. Im not sure where itnow, is it gone?
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CP: Yeah.
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JC: Oh, I hate to hear that.
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CP: It went with the 75 reorg [reorganization].
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JC: Oh, did it really?
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CP: Yeah, it did.
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JC: Is it totally gone?
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CP: In terms of a formal collection, yes. It was given to A&M library systemA&M University. Not the entire campus, the library. And they didnt have the commitment for maintenance, in spite of the fact they got all the toolsour entire film processing, film library, and the equipment that goes with that. It was given to A&M. And they didnt find a way to budget even a part-time person for maintenance. And it was only a short period of time before, in essence, its all gone.
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JC: Well, I can remember thatyou knowyou know where it was housed? Over at the State Board of Health. We really had a fine facility in the oldin the old State Board of Health building; the original building that was built back in
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CP: Nineteen-eleven.
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JC: I was gonna say 1902. (inaudible)
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Well, that was, again, a good learning experience, and an opportunity to be of some assistance.
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CP: And this was after Miss Reeds death.
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JC: She was gone.
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CP: And hehe appointed you.
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JC: Yes. It was just on an active basis while we were recruiting for a new division director. One of the assignments I had, by this time, had moved out of the planning office, and had become aIm not even sure I can remember the title. We said Dr. Sowder was very foresighted, and he had set upset in motion the development of a cadre of non-medical administrators. And, of course, the planning office was the first step of that.
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But we set up a group of people who werelike myselfhad experience in public health, but were not physicians, to do sort of middle management: planning, evaluation, that sort of thing. And I had moved into a position working directly with Dr. Sowder in that capacity; and through that, I got a number of very interesting assignments.
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And this really takes meif youre ready to go to the next step
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CP: Yeah, Im with you.
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JC: Okay. About this time, nationally, the movement toward comprehensive health planning was underway, and they had actually enacted some legislation in the late 60s: the National Partnership for Healthsomething. Im not sure of the exact title.
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CP: That was the name of it.
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JC: Ive got it here somewhere.
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And it fell to me to monitor that and to understand it and keep Dr. Sowder and the staff apprised of what was developing and how we should be relating to it. So, I did that. And were now approaching, I guess, 1969.
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CP: Okay. (laughs)
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JC: And the reorganization of state government
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CP: Constitutional reorg.
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JC: Constitutional renovation. By that time, the national planningthe partnership for health had gone into effect. And the nucleus of a health planning program had been established in a number of states, using federal money, including one in Florida. It was placed under the governors office: Governor Kirk, Claude Kirk.
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And Governor Kirk appointed an individual to run the program who had no background in health or health planning or anything similar to it. He was a fine fellow, but he did nothe had no background. And the people he hired, many of them had the same lack of background; so the program languished. It was really not a very good program.
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State government was reorganized. The Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services (DHRS) was established. And the governor and the state planning officer determined that the comprehensive planning program should not be housed in the governors office. It wasnt working; it was a disaster, is what it was, to be frank. (CP laughs) So, they moved it over to the new Department of HRS.
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And the new secretary of HRS, casting about for somebody to run it, asked me to take on the job. And with Dr. Sowders recommendation, I took it. And that moved me from the State Board of Health, which, by this time, would be combined into the massive Department of HRS. But it moved me over into a new division under HRS as the chiefthe bureau chiefthe Bureau of Comprehensive Health Planning.
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And that was in nineteenlate 1969; early 70s. So, that was my transition through the public health program: environmental health, up into planning, management, legislative activities, and then, over to
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CP: And now, comprehensive health management.
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JC: Comprehensive health.
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CP: Yeah, yeah. Your career was justalmost custom made for that, yeah?
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JC: Well, it was just a stroke of luck. It was justI just happened to be there as these things were going on.
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CP: Okay. Now, I hope you were getting pleasures out of all of these.
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JC: Well, I enjoyed it. I really enjoyed it all, up until then.
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CP: Uh-oh.
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JC: Up until then.
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CP: What happened?
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JC: Well, what happened is it was a very traumatic time. You know, as we were trying to
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CP: Im witness to that.
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JC: You were. As we were One of my assignments in working in the Bureau of Comprehensive Health Planning was, of course, to put the program together right and to get a health planning structure set up across the state under the terms of the federal legislation and some of the Florida enabling legislation. But, in addition to that, I was also drawn into the reorganization, planning, and development of HRS.
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CP: Yeah, like everybody else was.
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JC: Like everyone else was. And that was traumatic and frequently unpleasant. However, it was up, and it had to be done under the state constitutionstate law.
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CP: Yeah, the state fiat. The public had spoken.
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JC: Yes, they had.
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CP: Thats what we needed to do, and I think all of us caredto put in a good workday, an honest workday. We tried to do what the legislature wants.
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JC: Indeed. And the structure that came out of it, I think, was the best that anybody could do, under the circumstances.
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CP: I agree.
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JC: But, you know, with the comprehensive health planning, I think that really was exciting. We had to develop health planninghealth service areas across the state; get regional or local health planning organizations structured and operable. That took an awful lot of planning, and work.
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CP: A lot of doing.
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JC: A lot of doing. We ended up, I think, with some excellent localcall it HSAs. They were the local comprehensive health planning organizations. We had some very, very good ones; the group in Miami was just outstanding. Had a groupa good group in Broward, Palm Beach, a good one in Jacksonville.
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And these werethese were organizations that focused on local councils, which involved local health care providers, consumers, insurers; working together as a council, with a staff, to do regional local health planning. And, of course, we duplicated that, in a sense, at state level by having our own state health planning council, which, sort of, was the overseer of the entire operation and somewhat independent of the political process and of HRS. It was a
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CP: Ah, semi-autonomous.
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JC: Quasiyes, autonomous group. Which was required under the federal law, under which we operated, and which mostly funded what we were doing; it was something like sixtyfortysixty percent federal money. In that, the state health planning council was the final deciding voice on approving the local health planning organizations, and their planseach one had to come up with a plan, and that plan had to come up through the state process, reviewed by the state council, and finally approved.
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So, that was a structure that, in some ways, was similar to the old State Board of Health board, and the county health departments, because we had to work with local officials. We had to work with the local health structure while we can (inaudible). And of all of that, of course, we had to do before under the State Board of Health.
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CP: What impact did the plans that were put together have?
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JC: You know, at this point, its reallyits hard to assess. I think that over the short haul, there was a pretty healthy impact from the standpoint of the allocation of federal health dollars to the localities. They had local health plans, had an influence on that allocation and on the structuring. So, thatthats all gone now. That no longer really holds true. So, the long-range impact, from this standpoint, probably was minimal.
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CP: But did it provide a[n] infrastructure of health service attitude and delivery facilities? Did it leave that legacy?
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JC: Yes, it did, and Im glad you mentioned that. Because thatwell, just as an example, during those days, there was just enormous growth in the private health care industry, in the hospitals, in the provision services; there was so much duplication. Costs were skyrocketing, and one of the things that we attempted to do, with some success, was to look at that and try to bring some of it under some control, to at least reduce the wild excesses in the local private health system.
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So, we spent an awful lot of time working on hospital expansion, hospital construction; new hospitals [It] was a certificate of need program, which still exists, that evolved during that period of time; which required that, for you to build a new hospital or to add additional hospital beds or additional major expenditures, you had to get a certificate of need through the planning process. Now that structure still is there.
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CP: Its still in place, and it still has local boards.
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JC: Yes.
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CP: Was that a federal initiative, or did that grow out of Floridas obvious need for such?
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JC: The federal law added some incentives to do it, some guidance, and it was not a mandate. Now, I may be wrong on that. Im not sure.
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CP: Were pulling hard on our memories.
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JC: Yes, we are. Id have tohave to do some thinking. In any event, there was nothing that could be done about it until we had the legislation in Florida, which we got, overI might saythe very strong opposition of organized medicine of the hospitalof portions of the hospital industry.
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The hospital industry, as you know, is really made up of the not-for-profit hospitals, the public hospitals, and the for-profit hospitals. The for-profit hospitals were adamantly opposed to it, because that was thethat was really the force that was developing, growing like (inaudible), and causing a lot of the excessive cost problems.
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So they opposed it, as did many other components of the health system, because they didnt want to be regulated, and that was (inaudible). So that was an issue that took an awful lot of energy and effort. But we did finally get to stabilization, calling for the certificate of need program in place.
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CP: Yes. As Im remembering, too, that certificate of need occupied about 130 percent of your time.
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JC: It was(laughs) yes, it was.
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CP: To the exclusion of everything else.
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JC: It was ait was very demanding. The planning process was very complicated because it did involve a local determination of need by the local health planners, which then had to be reviewed at the state level, and put into effect legally by the state making a decisionyes or nowe would issue a certificate of need for whatever the expenditure in construction was.
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So it was a very complicated process; still is. It [was] fraught with all kinds of legal problems, because most of these were challenged, and there were a lot of lawyers involved, and there still are.
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CP: Yeah. We have special lawyers who specialize.
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JC: Yes, we do. And we have the consultants that are out there making a living, working with people to get their certificate of need. Yeah, thats the downside.
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CP: It opened up a whole new industry.
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JC: It did indeed, yeah.
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CP: And you were on the cutting edge of that. You were thekind of the daddy guiding it.
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JC: I wasI wouldnt call myself a daddy (CP laughs), but I was certainly involved, yes, yes. Weit took a concerted effort toby the state health planning council, my staff, the local health planners, all of that togetherto convince the governor and the legislature to go ahead and do it. And the reason they did is the facts were irrefutable. It was obvious that we werewe had a terrible problem with the rising cost of health care, particularly the hospital care.
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CP: Yes, yes, we did. And the clustering. Collected and put them all in the wrong place.
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JC: It was ait was really a very challenging time. Andbut Ibut I enjoyed it; most of it.
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CP: You survived.
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JC: Most of it, yeah.
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CP: You were a good leader, as I look back on it, too.
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JC: But the thing is, I started out all that with a head of black hair, and then, suddenly, it turned white; I think it was the job, not the age. Im not sure. (CP and JC laugh)
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CP: Well, youre lucky. I started out with a full head of hair.
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JC: Yes, you did. (CP laughs) We are doing all right. (CP laughs) I ran intoyou remember Charlotte Maguire, Dr. Maguire?
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CP: Very well.
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JC: Have you interviewed her?
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CP: No, I havent seen her, and Id like to know where she is.
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JC: Shes out in West Minister [Westminster].
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CP: Oh, she is? Here in town? I thought she was in Orlando.
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JC: No, shes here in town.
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CP: Okay.
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JC: Dr. Maguire was the head of our childrens medical services program for HRS, as you know. And when I was workingI had moved from the Bureau of Comprehensive Health Planning about this timebecause of further reorganization in HRS, I had moved up to become assistantdeputy assistant secretarythis is a mouthfuldeputy assistant secretary for health planning and resource development. (CP and JC laugh) Im surprised I remember that.
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CP: It took two pages just to do your letter; one was for your title.
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JC: Yes, thats right. And you were over here, working with HRS, and you and I spent a fair amount of time conferring about a lot of things.
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CP: Yeah, we did.
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JC: Well, Dr. Maguire was all part of that.
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CP: Yes, she was.
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JC: And the only reason I mention her is, I ran into her a few months ago at the FSU senior academy, which is an educational opportunity for retirees.
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CP: Im familiar with it, but were not members.
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JC: And Dr. Maguire came up to me and she looked at me and she says, Are you Jerry Conger? And I says, Yeah. What ever happened to your black hair? (CP and JC laugh) And heres this sweet little old lady with a full head of white hair. So time takes its own toll, doesnt it?
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CP: Yeah.
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JC: Yeah.
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CP: IShes much on my mind for this purpose, but I thought she was in Orlando.
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JC: No, shes moved up here in, and shes out at Westwoodshe was a few months ago.
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CP: Well, what did you do as deputy assistant secretary? With all that big title, what did it mean?
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JC: Well, I took a lot of time, as you say, signing my name. That took for(CP laughs) Well, that really meant that what we had put together was the old Bureau of Comprehensive Health Planning and the Bureau of Community Medical Facilities. The Bureau of Community Medical Facilities was a Hill-Burton In 1946, Congress passed Hill-Burton Act giving hospitals, nursing homes, and other health facilities grants and loans for construction and modernization. In return, they agreed to provide a reasonable volume of services to persons unable to pay and to make their services available to all persons residing in the facilitys area.  The program ended in 1997. agency under Art (Forand?).
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And youll remember ArtArt was a fellow that ran the Hill-Burton program for many, many years. His chief job, and the job of his staff, initially, was to go out and build hospitalshelp build hospitalsrural hospitals. He administered the federal Hill-Burton money which supported the construction of new rural hospitals and county health departments throughout the state.
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Well, that bureau was the bureau that ended up with the assignment of managing the certificate of need program. So that program and the health planning program were all put together in a combination to do health planning and resource development. We also hadwe served as consultants and a resource to the secretary of the department in all health related activities of the department.
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Not innot in any kind of supervisory fashion, but simply as a
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CP: Advisor.
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JC: As an advisor.
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CP: Give usgive our audience a paragraph on the Hill-Burton program.
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JC: Yes. The Hill-Burton program, and thats something that might be worthwhile to have on tape at some point. Cause that program
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CP: YouWheres Art?
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JC: Arts here. Arts here in Tallahassee.
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CP: Okay. Is he communicative?
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JC: His health is not all that good, but I think hes communicative. Im not sure; I havent talked with him in a couple years now.
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CP: Yeah, I totally agree with you. But
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JC: Well, that was a federal program named after Senator Hill and, I guess it was, Congressman Burton.
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CP: Correct.
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JC: Hill from Alabama, and Ive forgotten where Burton was from. A program that was started in the fortiesearly forties, I think. Did it go back even further?
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CP: No, it was really activated in late 44 [sic; 1946]. Late 44. Okay, thats early forties; thats what you said, isnt it?
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JC: Well, mid-forties.
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CP: Yeah, it was to get us back on base after the war, but it didnt go into effect until after the (second world war?)
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JC: Yes, yes. And there were substantial federal funds appropriated, which were allocated to the states for the purpose of building new hospitals where they were needed to bethe burgeoning population.
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And the emphasis, in most of the countryit was here in Floridawas to bring hospital care to the more rural areas of the state that did not have access. Its purpose was to improve access to hospital and healthcare; both hospital and public health, because, as I mentioned, there were grants that were provided to the county health departments to build new facilities.
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CP: Yes, and we got a lot of them.
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JC: We got a lot of them, and we got a lot of rural hospitals constructed through the program.
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CP: Let me ask: is this on the same piece of ground donated by the county commissioners?
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JC: Yes.
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CP: Theres a number of those. Theres the county hospital, and the health departments right next door.
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JC: Yes, absolutely.
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CP: Yeah, and I like that. Excuse me; I interrupted.
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JC: Well, I was just gonna say that one of the ironies of the reorganization and the advances in health planning is that our bureau of community health facilities, the Hill-Burton agency, was given the responsibilityin addition to trying to build and develop local hospitals where they (would be?)was given the responsibility to contain and reduce unnecessary construction.
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So, we hadwe had sort of a diverse dichotomy there that frequently got in the wayit became a problem. Because, on the one hand, we had a mission to build; and, on the end, a mission to stop building. So, that was, really, a difficult balancing act. But Art and his staff, I think, did a good job. It was
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CP: I think so too. I think so too. Floridas a Its a living testimony to the utility of that and Arts support. Im constrained [sic]for anyone from Suwannee County watching the first Hill-Burton hospitalfirst Hill-Burton hospital built in the United States is the Suwannee County Hospital.
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JC: I didnt know that, really.
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CP: Which is now torn down, I thinkthe original building. But that was the original, and I was present for the dedication, with allwith all the federal authorities, to dedicate that hospital.
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JC: Yeah, well, those were important developments. It was Again, it was really a wonderful time, because it waswe wereall of us were part of Florida as it was growing and developing and we had those opportunities to do so many good things. And it was a lot of fun.
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CP: Yes, it was. Were now in thewhat I call the post-75 HRS. There were major changes in the way HRS does business by legislative act of 1975 that went into effect in 76; another massive shake-up of staffing. And partial to that was this bureau that the office of comprehensive health planning andwhatever it was you said, I think
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JC: Yeah, (laughs) thats right.
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CP: Became partial to that. Under now a new umbrella, with the same set of enabling laws, but a different sort of organizational infrastructure to help you get your work done. Speak to that. Have I made sense?
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JC: Yes, youre right. It was Was it in 75 that we had the? Thats actually when the position that I was promoted to was created. Thats why we set up all of these deputy assistant secretaries, and we had a bunch of them.
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CP: Yeah, we did. (JC laughs) I think they all had utility, though, from the secretarys point of view; and you were set up really kind of as his advisory office. And as your paper, as his paperhis paper grew. And I could justify it even today, I guess.
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JC: Yes, well, we did meet as a group with the program directors. (I?) had to do a raw planning for the entire structure of the delivery of health and human services in the state, and I think we did some good work. It was difficult to bring all of these forces together, but I think we succeeded at that.
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CP: I think you did.
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JC: One of the problems that we had was a lack of stability at the secretary level; we had a number of different secretaries.
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CP: Oh, man we did. I remember us littleus underling staffs allowing that, [if] we didnt have to spend so much time training secretaries, we could get some things done.
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JC: (laughs) We did have to do a fair amount of that. And I contrast that with the times that we worked for the State Board of Health, where we had a lot of stability, and it just made life a lot easier.
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CP: The leadership was so stable at the State Board of Health.
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JC: It made life easier.
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CP: I never contrasted those two, but that is so true, yeah.
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JC: I dont know whether Dr. Sowder spoke to it when he was on tape, but I can remember him sort of squirming around in his chair, having to deal with all this new structure, and when they put themerged the State Board of Health with all of the rest of it, it was, I think, a fairly difficult time for him and a real challenge.
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CP: Very psychologically difficult time. He did speak to that.
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JC: Did he? Good.
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CP: Yeah, for our history.
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JC: It was tough on all of the old leadership, because we had Of course, we brought in the state health officer, Dr. Rogers Dr. William DeWitt Rogers (1909-1999) is considered the Father of Mental Health in the state of Florida. He began working at Florida State Hospital in 1934, and then was chief physician there from 1940-1950 and superintendent from 1950-1962. In 1957, he was named as the first Director of the Division of Mental Health in Florida., who ran the mental health program, and (inaudible), as you know. Even they brought in, unfortunately, the Department of Corrections, which was a major mistake and was corrected fairly quickly.
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But to see all the leaders of all those major, important state programs being forced to come together under a new secretary, who may or may not know what the heck he was doing wasit was quite entertaining. (CP laughs) And I was privy to watch some of that and to be involved in some of it as staff (inaudible). It was quite a time.
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CP: You want to relate to us any interesting stories from those times?
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JC: Oh, gee. I cant think of anything in particular. Just some of the turmoil that was involved with getting new secretaries, and getting secretaries confirmed through the senate was a process that was disgraceful; and OJ Keller The confirmation battle over the appointment of O. J. (Ollie) Keller as HRS Secretary occurred in 1975.  The then-described Battle of the Titans was between popular democratic Governor Reubin Askew, who nominated Keller, and the powerful Senate President and Dean, Dempsey Barron (D., Panama City). in particular was a fine man who was appointed secretary. His background was in juvenile justice and juvenile delinquency, and his knowledge of the rest of health and social services was somewhat limited, but he learned and he was a good man who ended up not being confirmed for political reasons by the Senate. That was a real morale problem to a lot of us who worked with him.
341
00:57:28.6
CP: Yes. To the whole department. Cause I think that whole department liked Mr. Keller.
342
00:57:35.0
JC: So, those were problems, and the problems of buildingmoving into Winewood, where we are today, was difficult. At the time that was done, I was still out with the Bureau of Comprehensive Health Planning, in a very nice little office on the other side of town. (CP laughs) And, at that point, Emmett Roberts I believe Emmett was either the acting secretary or the secretary.
343
00:58:1.3
CP: Yeah, he served both. He was active
344
00:58:2.6
JC: Yes, he was in several
345
00:58:3.5
CP: He stopped being secretary, then he came back as active.
346
00:58:8.1
JC: Yes, he was a wonderful man.
347
00:58:10.3
He called me, and he said, Jerry, I want you to move over to Winewood. And I said, Where? (CP and JC laugh) And I argued with him, because we really
348
00:58:20.4
CP: (laughs) You actually
349
00:58:21.2
JC: Well, we haventI said, Weve got nothing in the budget to make a move, and everythings just fine where we are. And you remember Emmett was very soft-spoken. So, finally he says, Jerry, I want you to move over to Winewood. (CP and JC laugh)
350
00:58:33.5
CP: Thats your problem with money and all that.
351
00:58:35.2
JC: I said, Yes, sir. (CP laughs)
352
00:58:36.2
CP: Did you know him in Palm Beach, when you were a little sanitarian down there?
353
00:58:41.3
JC: Yes, he was in the legislature. He was actually I guess, he was one of the deans of the legishe was in the House floor.
354
00:58:49.2
CP: At the time, he was.
355
00:58:50.1
JC: For a long, long time. When I was in Palm Beach, he was our representative fromhe lived in Belle Glade or (Boca?), and it was out atin the Lake Okeechobee area. I didnt know him personally, but Iof course
356
00:59:4.4
CP: A very lovable man.
357
00:59:5.3
JC: He met with Dr. Brumback, and I had occasion to listen to him.
358
00:59:10.5
Well, speaking Going way back to that, I just wanted to say that it was really a wonderful opportunity I had to work for Carl Brumback Clarence L. Carl Brumback (1914-2012) was hired as Palm Beach Countys first director of public health in 1950; he held that position until 1986. Among the many health problems he identified and addressed was polio; he arranged for Palm Beach County to participate in the testing of the Salk polio vaccine. Brumback also identified issues in the healthcare services provided to the black community and migrant farm workers.. Carl was one of the premier health officers in this country.
359
00:59:26.4
CP: Hes still considered His heritage will probably not be duplicated.
360
00:59:31.9
JC: It was just very great. And even as I moved up into the State Board of Health, and over here to take on some of these jobs, we frequently consulted with him. He was just full of good ideas and innovative programs.
361
00:59:45.8
CP: Yes, yes, yes. Yes, he was. Floridas lucky to have him. Yeah, and hes still around. Weve got him on tape. Weve enjoyed him too.
362
00:59:57.0
CP: We were talking about thejust to put you back on gear We were talking about your place in the latest HRS reorg, and you were talking about moving to Winewood. Im constrained [sic] that I, too, was directed to come to Winewood.
363
01:00:12.2
And my office was what had been a closet that was now occupied by the departments personnel officer. She was instructed to find me place; the only place she could find was in her office. In order for me to get to my desk, if she was sitting at her desk, she had to get up from her desk and move away, whereas I could get by to my office. That was my first office in Winewood.
364
01:00:46.3
JC: Oh, well, they just did not treat you right. (CP laughs) They didnt. Well, I must admit that our offices were wonderful, because we came in, as the building was being laid out and organized. And the good news, of course, Art Forand and his architects, who were our Hill-Burton architects, were given the assignment of working up this place for our two bureaus. And Art and his guys did a wonderful job.
365
01:01:20.6
CP: Protecting yalls interests.
366
01:01:22.1
JC: I got a great big office with nice windows, and I had plenty of room. (CP laughs) And you were allIm sorry. I didnt know that. (CP laughs) We had a nice setup (inaudible) out, and, of course, we did tobecause of our federal budgetwe were able to pay for it.
367
01:01:42.8
CP: Oh, yes. Yeah, you could have some priorities if you brought your own money. Yeah. (laughs) Looking back on your career, highlight three Give me three highlights that really are outstanding; that brings you great pleasure to remember.
368
01:02:0.5
JC: Okay. Well, let me give you the first one as the last of my work. One of the responsibilities that we had in our health planning organization was, as you know, to write something called a state health plan.
369
01:02:21.1
And that was to set out what the needs and concerns and the priorities in Floridas health systemhealthcare system should be, and to propose some solutions, that sort of thing. One of theone of the proposals inand really, it may have been the first planwas that we needed a more formal structure to control hospital costs. So, our state health planning council, in its state health plan, made some recommendations pertaining to the development of legislation to control hospital costs.
370
01:03:4.3
As a consequenceand this of course was not just the state plan, but also a lot of other people, including legislators who were very concerned of the issue As a consequence, we ended up with new legislation, which required that hospitals in the State of Florida, for the first time, submit their budgets and justify their expenses, their costs, their revenues to the State of Florida, to an organization which was entitled the State of Florida Hospital Cost Containment Board.
371
01:03:46.1
At that point, I had about decided that I had been in HRS long enough, and this looked like an opportunity to move into a new program and try my hand at something a little different. So, the long and the short of it is I applied for the position of executive director of the Florida Hospital Cost Containment Board, which had been, under the new legislation, housed in the Department of Insurance, which was a terrible place to put it.
372
01:04:20.1
But that was the politics of it; and the politics of it relates to one of the forces that was pushing this, and this was the insurance industry. The Florida insurance industry was very much interested in trying to do something about capping hospital costs. So the program was housed in the Department of Insurance; although independently, because the legislation structured a boarda nine-member board made up of three insurers, three healthcare providers, and three consumers, who had the actual administrative responsibility to run the program of the insurance commissioner.
373
01:05:5.4
The insurance commissioners job was he was one of the appointers of the board, along with the legislature and the governor. That program was set up as, pretty much, a result of the health planning push over theduring the late seventies.
374
01:05:22.6
I applied for the job, and I was appointed as the first executive director of the hospital cost containment program. So that was a highlight, because I had an opportunity to go into a new program and help organize and help develop it, and get it running.
375
01:05:41.5
CP: Thats (got?) a history of your career.
376
01:05:43.7
JC: Thats why Ive had so much fun, Skeeter. (CP laughs) Its just beenjust been a lot of fun because every time I sort of run out of steam in one program, a new avenue would open up. And because I like a little bit of change
377
01:05:59.5
CP: Yes, and you like a challenge.
378
01:06:1.1
JC: I would move into it. So, I guess, that was probably one of my major activities; one of the things I really am very fond of, because we did develop the program. We did develop a uniform hospital reporting system. We did, for the first time in the State of Florida, get all 254 hospitals to start being more publically accountable, in terms of their budget.
379
01:06:32.3
And even though we were, as Dr. Rick Hodes, who was a state legislator from Tampa, and one of our fathersone of the fellows that helped put the law in effecthe did call us a toothless tiger, because we werewe had no enforcement authority at that time.
380
01:06:51.9
All we could do was demand that they bring the budgets in, and then we would review them, and in public, hed say, Wait a minute, you guys are way out of line with this hospital, and this hospital, and (inaudible) Youre too costly. Do something about it.
381
01:07:6.2
And if they wouldnt, we could hold a hearing, and that was the extent of it. Then they could do whatever they wanted. (CP laughs) But at least we could embarrass them. And that did work. The fact that they had to all adopt a uniform accounting procedure and reporting procedure, I think, was really a step forward.
382
01:07:25.9
CP: Its a significant accomplishment.
383
01:07:26.8
JC: Really helped.
384
01:07:28.3
So that, for the first timeand, of course, we published the information; got it out to the public. So, that wasthats I spent the last four years of my career doing that work. And having reached a little over about thirty-one years, I thought it was time to get off of that bus and go paint some pictures. (CP laughs) Which is about what I did.
385
01:07:52.5
CP: Oh, thats marvelous.
386
01:07:54.4
JC: So, that was, I think, one of the highlights.
387
01:07:59.9
JC: There, of course, was taking on the Comprehensive Health Planning program and sort of bringing that to life.
388
01:08:6.9
CP: Yeah, bringing that to life and getting it organized into an operating scheme, yes. Okay.
389
01:08:12.3
JC: The true highlight was my career in working for the county health departments and the State Board of Health, because thats where I met you; thats where I worked and made an awful lot of friends. I worked with an awful lot of people who just were dedicated public servants.
390
01:08:30.4
And it was a wonderful time during that period. I wouldnt try to pick any particular point of it, because it all was very interesting
391
01:08:40.4
CP: Yeah, all that.
392
01:08:41.5
JC: A lot of fun.
393
01:08:43.7
CP: Thats great. I want to ask you, too, what was the Whats the low point? The most disappointing element of your career?
394
01:08:54.4
JC: Well, you know, thats hard to I cant really think of anything that wasthat I would characterize as a low point. Uh, the trauma that was involved with the organization of HRS. All of that was very difficult and did require an awful lot of extra work, energy, thought, worry, anxiety.
395
01:09:22.0
But even then, it was a opportunity to try and help build something that would work better in the state. I cant think of anything that really was very low.
396
01:09:37.0
CP: Very good. (laughs) And I noticed youve brought for us some paper that youre gonna leave with us. Kind of overview of what it is.
397
01:09:45.7
And Ill tell you that this will be a part of the permanent record; any paper you leave with us. Permanent. This is, like, in permanent, Mr. Conger. Forever.
398
01:09:54.9
JC: Now, here are five papers that I wrote: one on comprehensive health planning
399
01:10:2.8
CP: Great!
400
01:10:3.8
JC: One on HMOs and the history in the State of Florida; one on health planning resource development.
401
01:10:11.9
Heres some testimony I presented before a congressional committee. And I might mention that one of our leaders in the Floridain the national Congress was from Palm BeachCongressman Paul Rogers. Paul Rogers was an architect of the National Health Planning Resource Development, a partnership for health.
402
01:10:32.3
CP: Yes, he was.
403
01:10:33.3
JC: A wonder legislator.
404
01:10:34.3
CP: Yes, he was.
405
01:10:35.4
JC: I had the opportunity to go up and testify before one of his subcommittee hearings.
406
01:10:39.1
CP: Excellent, excellent, excellent.
407
01:10:42.0
JC: Heres a paper I wrote on national health insurance issues. And heres a paper you and I wrote.
408
01:10:48.4
CP: Oh!
409
01:10:49.3
JC: Oh, you dont remember this!
410
01:10:50.4
CP: Oh, youre kidding!
411
01:10:51.3
JC: This was a little paper that you had published in the Journal of the Florida Medical Association back in 1975.
412
01:10:58.3
CP: I cant remember that far.
413
01:10:59.4
JC: Okay, well. (laughs) I couldntI just dug it up. Anyhow, thats in there. So, these are just some (inaudible) It covers a number of the things weve talked about.
414
01:11:7.3
CP: Yeah, thanks, thanks, thanks. All right.
415
01:11:9.7
JC: You dont need this, and you dont need this. You wanted my CV. Now, heres athis is a This is a little summary CV.
416
01:11:19.8
CP: Yeah, okay. That will introduce the tape to any potential viewer. (inaudible)
417
01:11:24.6
JC: Now, heres a more detailed one, up through 79 or something.
418
01:11:29.4
CP: Okay. All right. All right.
419
01:11:32.0
JC: Heres something I thought would be very interesting to have. This is the first Comprehensive Health Planning Newsletter. And it shows our executive board on the council, Mike Wood
420
01:11:42.3
CP: Mike Wood, yes.
421
01:11:43.1
JC: He was the hospital administration in Jacksonville, and youll recognize some of these people.
422
01:11:47.4
CP: Yes, thats your board; original board?
423
01:11:48.9
JC: This was the executive committee of the Florida Health Council
424
01:11:52.3
CP: Oh.
425
01:11:53.4
JC: The first health council. See their help (inaudible)? Executive Director of the Florida Medical AssociationEmmett Roberts, who ran the
426
01:12:2.1
CP: Division of family services, at that time.
427
01:12:3.0
JC: Well, it was the welfare department. Wilson Sowder.
428
01:12:5.7
CP: Yeah, (health?).
429
01:12:6.9
JC: Dick (Rook?), who was independent life. (Gene Malkin?), who wasbecame a state senator, was a leader in the Florida Lung Association. Samuel Day, Jacksonville surgeon. (Ervy Hall?), a Bradenton physician. And me.
430
01:12:25.5
CP: Yeah, there you are. You were a young fellow with black hair.
431
01:12:27.9
JC: Wasnt I? Look at that; I was just
432
01:12:29.7
CP: Yeah, you were a good lookin guy!
433
01:12:32.1
JC: I was just a baby. (CP and JC laugh) So, I thought that might be interesting.
434
01:12:33.8
CP: Those are.
435
01:12:36.4
JC: Theres a little something here on the Department of HRS, and it has a
436
01:12:42.1
CP: Miss Roberts picture on the front.
437
01:12:43.6
JC: Well, it has our planning and evaluation division, which at one point I was part of.
438
01:12:48.4
CP: And its called there, on the headline, The Egghead Division.
439
01:12:52.6
JC: P&E HRSs Egghead Division, and heres David St. John, who was our division director. Dick Shute, who ran one of our bureaus. Heres Art (Forand?), who ran our healthcare program.
440
01:13:5.8
CP: Oh, these are nice pictures to have.
441
01:13:7.6
JC: Heres Bob Browning. You remember Bob Browning?
442
01:13:9.7
CP: Yes, I know Bob very well.
443
01:13:11.8
JC: There I am, looking very That must have been one of my low points. (CP and JC laugh)
444
01:13:15.2
CP: It kind of looks like it. Itd kind of be fun to read that paper on Internet a hundred years from now.
445
01:13:21.7
JC: Yes, and there are This is the hospital uniform reporting system; some of the early language on the regulations.
446
01:13:33.5
CP: Okay, okay, very good.
447
01:13:37.4
JC: And going back to the environmental health Well, here are a couple of Florida Health Notes. Do you remember these?
448
01:13:45.6
CP: Yes, yes. I appreciate having those for our purpose. Im trying to get Mr. [Robert] Schoonoverthe longtime editor Im trying to find a way to fly him in from Pennsylvania to talk about the health notes, just in the point of interest.
449
01:14:4.2
JC: Well, I thought this would This was when I was the acting administrator of the division of health education.
450
01:14:10.0
CP: Oh, all right.
451
01:14:12.1
JC: Gonna throw those in. Here are a couple of Journals of Environmental Health, and one of them has a paper I wrote.
452
01:14:20.4
CP: All right; and thats 1964, too.
453
01:14:22.6
JC: This is 65, 64. Theres a couple of papers in here that I did.
454
01:14:25.5
CP: All right.
455
01:14:26.5
JC: Okay?
456
01:14:27.4
CP: Good, good, good, good, good.
457
01:14:28.5
JC: And thats all I could dig up.
458
01:14:30.6
CP: Let me ask youa picturea pictureDoleDoleon the environmental health.
459
01:14:39.3
JC: Oh, Jim Doyle.
460
01:14:40.0
CP: Jim Doyle! Jim Doyle. I wanted to ask you his name. Jim Doyle.
461
01:14:42.9
JC: Yeah, he was either the president or the incoming president of the National Association of Sanitarians.
462
01:14:49.4
CP: Oh, wow. Okay. All right. Thats good, thats good. What have we left out, Jerry?
463
01:14:57.0
JC: I think weve covered a lot more that I really planned to talk about.
464
01:15:0.1
CP: It was
465
01:15:2.3
JC: So, we
466
01:15:1.8
CP: Oh, okay.
467
01:15:2.8
JC: I mean, weve covered the waterfront, havent we?
468
01:15:4.7
CP: Yeah. Im afraid I dont want to close this withlike, that there was something you want to talk about that we havent mentioned. That hadnt gotten on
469
01:15:15.0
JC: Oh, cantcant
470
01:15:16.7
CP: Youre the best judge.
471
01:15:16.9
JC: Well, I would mention one thing. It goes back to as we were organizing both the health planning structure and the cost containment effort in Florida. It was a There were a wonderful group of consumers who were in the forefront of that battlethose battles, under the leadership of the retired educators in Florida and the American Association of Retired Persons.
472
01:15:47.6
And I did want to mention that because it was the AARP leadership under Jack Carroll and some of the others that worked so hard with me; that, when I retired, I thought, Well, Ill just try and return some of the favors. So I have been working with the American Association of Retired Persons, which is something that takes up a good deal of my time now. All as a volunteer.
473
01:16:18.6
CP: Well, I appreciate that. Im a retired person.
474
01:16:21.6
JC: I know you are, and you spend all your time doing volunteer work, too, dont you?
475
01:16:26.3
CP: But its meaningful. Yeah. Thats I was aware of your work with the AARP, and Im conscious that youre part of their legislative group, when the legislature is here, and youre involved with their legislative program year-round. Plus, an advisor with great experience in how state government works. Thats very valuable to our Florida efforts in AARP. And on behalf of the retired persons with whom Im associated, I say, Thank you, Jerry.
476
01:16:57.5
JC: Well, youre welcome, and I want to thank you for the good work youre doing with the Red Cross. (CP laughs) Its wonderful.
477
01:17:2.8
CP: Thank you.
478
01:17:3.3
JC: So, they do take some we old warhorses, and we do manage to keep busy, dont we?
479
01:17:7.8
CP: Yeah, we do. Yeah, we do. And its kind of fun to look back and seetry to get em to keep up.
480
01:17:13.9
JC: Yes, yes.
481
01:17:16.0
CP: On behalf, Jerry, of the University of South Florida, and the School of Public Health of Florida, and myself, I say thank you sincerely for coming by and sharing with us, and reviewing for us, your colorful history in public health. And the fact that youve been a witness to so much thats important in, quote, modernthe modern public health movement. And that youd share it with us is terribly valuable for future researchers, and I thank you sincerely for that.
482
01:17:45.4
JC: Oh, thank you, Dr. Prather. I really enjoyedIts been an honor. Thank you.
483
01:17:51.1
CP: Good. And Im Skeeter Prather.



PAGE 1

COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2014 University of South Florida. All rights, reserved. This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrighted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 42 02 E. Fowler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.


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