Jackson Employees Stand Up For Patient Care at Public Hearing

Fed up with management’s refusal to listen to their concerns, hundreds of Jackson employees packed a public hearing today to warn Miami Dade County Commissioners about the devastating consequences of mass layoffs.

“There is no way we can maintain the standard of care at Jackson under these planned layoffs, it will cripple us,” said Dr. Dave Woolsey, MD, an Attending Physician in the ER. “We as a community should be careful before messing with the standard of care at Jackson.”

President Martha Baker told commissioners about how much Jackson has already suffered under furloughs and held up 250 incident reports that were filed within six weeks. She asked any caregivers in the room to stand up if they thought patient care was negatively affected by the furloughs – all of them stood.

Union Attorney Mark Richard said caregivers have no choice but to go public with their concerns about cuts in services and limited access to patient care at Jackson.

“Caregivers are the voice for patients and their voices have been muted,” Richard said. “We have no medical choice but to come to the guardians of our public hospital with our message.”

Patients also spoke about the need for Jackson’s array of state-of-the-art services and how limited patient access would affect the community. .

Alex Garcia’s wife gave birth to triplets at Jackson in January 2007 after other hospitals turned them away due to the complicated case. “We had an army of skilled professionals who took care of my children,” Garcia said. “Consider what option we would have if there was no Jackson.”

Double lung transplant survivor Stephanie Whitehead said Jackson saved her life after she was initially misdiagnosed. She’s still at Jackson three times a week for follow-up care and if services are cut, she’ll have to travel to Shands Healthcare in Gainesville – 360 miles away.

CEO Carlos Migoya again insisted that patient care has not been and would not be affected by furloughs or layoffs.  He admitted to not discussing the effect of the layoffs or the plan itself with the union and said his team was still working on a strategic plan, a key element before any drastic cuts such as the proposed layoffs should be implemented according to hospital turnaround expert Duane Fitch.

Commissioner Barbara Jordan criticized Migoya for not implementing a strategic plan first before resorting to drastic cuts.  Commissioners Edmonson, Bell and Sosa spoke in favor of Migoya’s plan, saying the CEO should be left alone to do this job.

Commissioner Sally Heyman said the layoffs will likely turn patients away from Jackson. “We can’t cut our way to saving Jackson. You’re downsizing by handing out pink slips. There’s nothing strategic about that.”