Miami Today: “Jackson to add 4 primary care centers in year”

By Ashley Hopkins

To increase the number of patients walking through Jackson Memorial Hospital’s doors, President and CEO Carlos Migoya said Tuesday he plans to open four primary care centers in the next year, upping Miami-Dade’s total from eight to 12.

At the county commission Public Safety & Healthcare Committee meeting, Mr. Migoya, said he plans to expand outpatient services by partnering with private primary care centers, including facilities in Aventura, Miami Beach and at Florida International University. He said Jackson officials have been reaching out to federal qualified health centers and hope to build partnerships in upcoming weeks.

By expanding the hospital’s reach, Mr. Migoya said, he hopes to increase the number of paying patients coming through Jackson’s doors. Mr. Migoya said Jackson officials are working to pull in area physicians to staff the centers to increase patient referrals to the cash-strapped public hospital.

“Hopefully that will help us integrate additional inpatients as needed,” he said. “It could be a lead to Jackson Hospital.”

According to Jackson’s latest financial report, while admissions have remained below budget, they “appear to have stabilized in recent months.”

About 5,224 patients walked through Jackson’s doors in March, slightly below the hospital’s budgeted 5,722. This is up from February, when 4,896 people used Jackson, and down from March 2011, when 5,423 did so.

Mr. Migoya attributes the bump to a decrease in length of stay. According to his report, the average patient spent 6.24 days in Jackson throughout March, slightly below the budgeted 6.39.

Because 60% of the hospital’s patients are funded on a per-day basis, reducing the time patients spend at Jackson reduces immediate revenues. Hospital finances, Mr. Migoya said, have begun to stabilize as Jackson accounts for the shift.

According to Jackson’s monthly financial report, in March the hospital received excess revenue of $6.2 million. Between December and March the hospital lost $21 million, down from the $64 million lost during the same timeframe last year.

The $6.2 million excess included a one-time $4 million reimbursement from Miami-Dade for projects funded through the Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond. Sales tax revenues brought in an additional $3 million, allowing the hospital to end the month with 12.7 days of cash on hand — up from the expected 10.

In order to replenish working capital, improve payments to vendors and make operations and facility upgrades necessary for sustained growth, last month Carlos Lapciuc, chair of the hospital’s Financial Recovery Board, reported that the hospital would have to pull in $50 million to $150 million a year to reinvest in facilities that would make Jackson more attractive to the paying patient and close the facility’s $400 million budget gap. This amounts to $4.1 million to $12.5 million each month.

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