Member Denise Glass, RN, writes a weekly blog called “Jackson Nurses United” that covers the latest topics on patient care at Jackson Health System. Make sure to read her entries and get informed on the latest issues — from a member’s perspective. Here is the latest entry:
“We are not sleeping….just napping”
It has been over a year since the topic of Public Health Trust Governance was vetted by the Hospital Governance Taskforce. The community resoundingly opposed the action of changing the governance of Jackson to anything other than a public hospital, governed by officers accountable to the public.
But once again, out of the clear blue, the topic appeared on the Miami-Dade Charter Review Task Force agenda on May 23, 2012. The task force may have thought that the storm had blown over and all the survivors were sleeping. Such is not the case, they were merely taking a light nap — but never taking their eyes off of the radar and have awoken to another line of storms approaching.
The community resoundingly opposed the action of changing the governance of Jackson to anything other than a public hospital, governed by officers accountable to the public. But once again, out of the clear blue, the topic appeared on the Miami-Dade Charter Review Task Force agenda on May 23, 2012.
Last year, town hall meetings were held by each of the county commissioners in their respective districts to assess the county’s opinions about changing the way Jackson operates and who does the operating of “their” hospital. Overwhelmingly, the community voiced their disdain toward any actions that would jeopardize the care they receive from Jackson. In support of maintaining the governance structure of Jackson were citizens as well as community leaders who viewed the discussions as a way of convincing them that Jackson’s survival was dependent upon a new way of operating the hospital.
Even more concerning to many, including the County Attorney Eugene Shy, changing the governance structure is a task extremely complicated with numerous and costly legal hurdles to maneuver. Sovereign immunity, surtax revenue, Sunshine matters, and intergovernmental transfers is the tip of the iceberg, according to Shy. Each of these items would require expansive legal actions such as requiring the state legislature to amend the Florida Statutes addressing sovereign immunity, adopting a new referendum to redirect the half-penny sales tax the Jackson receives and changing the statutory laws to compensate for the federal funds Jackson currently receives.
With such legal hurdles to get over, the county attorney concluded in his memorandum to Senator Rene Garcia and the Members of the Miami-Dade County Charter Review Task Force that changing the governance of the Public Health Trust would mean
- (a) it will be unlikely that the new not for profit corporation will have the protection of sovereign immunity, unless the Florida legislature adopts appropriate legislation
- (b) the surtax revenues would terminate, unless the legislature amends Sec. 213.055(5) and, possibly, a new referendum would need to be held
- (c) sunshine laws could be made applicable by contract to apply or by application of the test in the case law.
- Pursuant to Sec. 395.3036, Fla. Stat., the Florida legislature has expressed its intent that private corporations that lease a public hospital should be exempt from the Sunshine Law and
- (d) federal matching dollars supporting the state and local exemption and buyback programs would be at risk pending a statutory change to support the state’s ability to maintain intergovernmental transfer contribution levels.”
To read more entries from Denise Glass’ blog “Jackson Nurses United”, click here!