Right Choice, Wrong Time?
Shine was the third director, but he will not be the last. Shine officially steps down as CHOICES Director Friday Aug. 10, 2007; he said it was a tough decision, but in the end, he had to do what was best for the wife, son and daughter he left in the Keystone State.
"The house didn't sell, and school is coming fast upon us," Shine explained. "It just became too much for me to be able to devote the time to my family that was still up there and also give the time needed to keep this program going."
Co-workers said even though Shine was only in North Central Florida for six months, he wrote a prescription for success.
"He was a tremendous asset to the CHOICES program in the short period he was here," CHOICES's Susan Myers said. "His expertise in healthcare administration has really moved the program forward."
One of his final actions was getting the ball rolling on a disease management and health education program for all Alachua County residents, not only those enrolled in CHOICES. His staff said they are anxious to grab the ball and run with it...all the way to the county commissioners.
"We're in a good place right now and just looking forward to having CHOICES continuing to be a program that serves the needs of the community who have no access to healthcare," CHOICES's Lorraine Austin said.
Austin will be the interim director until the commissioners hire a permanent replacement. She steps into the position Monday Aug. 13:
"I've been with the program for 18 months, and I have watched it develop and a lot of great things happen."
Since February, CHOICES's reserve fund has grown to nearly $26 million, and enrollment has increased approximately 50 percent to 914 indigent workers and family members.
"Our goal was always to have 1,000 people enrolled by Oct. 1, and I feel like we're still moving in that direction," Myers said.
Once back in Pennsylvania, Shine will return to healthcare consulting, but promised he would do anything he can to help the CHOICES Program continue to grow. With the amount of progress CHOICES has made since Shine arrived in February, he said it is tough to leave something he feels is so important.
"I'm going to miss this program a great deal," he said. "I really think it's going to be a prototype for the rest of the Country to follow."
By Ted Latiak, WCJB TV20 News.
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