“Jackson’s Survival is at Stake”

The Miami Herald

Union: Assault on jobs at Jackson will hurt patient care

BY MARTHA BAKER
marthabakerrn@seiu1991.org

Jackson Health System is the healthcare jewel of Miami-Dade County.

Our success is nationally recognized.Our trauma center is second to none.

We train more than 1,000 doctors each year. Our medical experts work each day on cutting-edge medical discoveries. And, yes, we give care to anyone who needs it — as a basic human right.

But Jackson’s survival is at stake.

We face many challenges, ranging from inadequate funding to mismanagement.

Yet these obstacles are not the most threatening.

The single biggest hurdle the doctors, nurses and other medical professionals face daily at Jackson is arrogance.

Yes, the arrogance of non-medical leaders, flanked by some business elites, who refuse to ask the hard questions.

Our nurses and doctors earned the right to ask the hard questions.

We and our families agreed to give back $156 million in wages and benefits over the next three years on top of more than $100 million we already gave back.

More important, our ethics, our licensure obligations and duty as patient advocates require us to ask the core questions — even if it upsets our bosses.

Carlos Migoya, Jackson’s rookie CEO with absolutely no healthcare experience, has a significant annual bonus based on one factor — produce a one time “profit” for Jackson of $1 million — and he gets up to 50 percent of his base pay of $590,000 in a bonus.

The bonus is absent of concern to patient care or clinical outcomes. It is absent meeting Jackson’s mission or employee/physician/patient satisfaction.

It is absent producing a strategic plan, developing a balanced relationship with the University of Miami, or any other factors other than profit.

This is absurd for a public health system (or any institution). Jackson’s Financial Recovery Board should be ashamed for putting this carrot in front of Migoya’s nose.

It appears Migoya’s “strategic” plan is to gut the system for a short-term, one-time profit. And to do this while retaining all of the county, state, and federal dollars that are provided to take care of the residents of Miami-Dade County.

As a result, every decision Migoya makes is based on trying to eke out a profit in his first year with no regard to the history, mission and purpose of Jackson Health System.

Also, there is clearly no analysis of, or concern for, the long-term impact of his permanent and irreversible decisions.

While he continues to “downsize” Jackson, other hospitals continue to welcome Jackson’s paying patients and highly trained clinical staff with open arms.

This short-term assault on Jackson is harmful to our community.

The notion that Jackson can cut 1,115 jobs without any impact on clinical quality and safety or patient service levels, and without reducing healthcare access to our citizens of Miami-Dade is absurd and offensive.

This craziness needs to stop.

The residents of Miami-Dade County must take back their public healthcare system and insist on answers to the hard questions.

Let’s put talented, experienced and caring leadership at the helm who will address the current financial issues (which are real and which have been around for a long time) while preserving Jackson for future generations.

This patient can and should be saved, but time is running short.

Jackson needs leadership and governance that will insist on a strategic plan, insist on primary care and outpatient services, insist that Jackson patients are not diverted to other institutions.

It needs a leader who will insist that all decisions are in the best interest of the patient. It needs a leader who will insist on accountability and execution by management, and who will always have the best interests of Jackson Health System and the patients who depend on it in the forefront of every action taken.

Jackson’s diagnosis: An absence of capable and caring leadership with a vested interest in doing what’s best for our community — not just themselves.

It’s time for the people in charge, the Jackson Financial Recovery Board and the County Commission, to find a cure!

Martha Baker is a registered nurse and president of the SEIU Local 1991, representing registered nurses, physicians and other healthcare workers at Jackson Health System.

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