Jackson Memorial Hospital plans to go to all private rooms

The Miami Herald

By John Dorschner

In a move to become more competitive and offer better patient experiences, Jackson Memorial Hospital plans to make private all its rooms on its medical-surgical floors starting early next year, Chief Executive Carlos Migoya announced Wednesday.Speaking to the monthly meeting of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Migoya said he was seeking to make Miami-Dade’s lead public hospital more customer-friendly. He said many patients with insurance have been avoiding the place because they weren’t certain who might be their roommate in a facility where about one in five patients is uninsured.

The move will also make Jackson competitive with the University of Miami Hospital across the street, where all rooms have been private for some time.

Linda Quick, president of the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association, estimates that perhaps 60 percent of hospitals in the region offer only private rooms. The trend in new hospital construction in recent years has been for large private rooms, often with alcoves so that a family member can spend the night with patients.

Migoya said the transition will require no major capital expenditures. “Unfortunately, we have the room to spare,” he said. Forty percent of Jackson Health System’s licensed beds were empty, according to 2010 data from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration.

Migoya said the move was “medically the right call” because it should reduce the chances of spreading disease between patients and reduce the time needed to get patients into rooms because staff won’t have to match roommates by gender, compatible conditions and such.

The change will apply to the main building at Jackson Memorial, but not the Ryder Trauma Center, the Holtz Children’s Hospital and some of the intensive care units on campus.

Migoya told the Chamber audience that since he became chief executive on May 1, he’s been pushing hard to increase customer satisfaction by “transforming the patient experience.” He said that in recent months, in response to a question on whether they would recommend friends or family use Jackson, patient response has climbed from 35 to 70 percent.

He said he knows personally how important Jackson Memorial can be. In 1978, his son was born there, weighing just over a pound with a one percent change of survival. The 33-year-old will soon be getting married, Migoya said.

Migoya continued to emphasize that “you can’t cut your way to growth.” He doesn’t want to reduce services or lay off staff, but wants to reduce payments to the University of Miami and cut labor costs by reducing overtime and having workers contribute to their pension funds.

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