The Miami Herald: Jackson Health System chairman decries political pressure

The Miami Herald

Jackson Health System chairman decries political pressure

By John Dorschner

Marcos Lapciuc, chairman of the Jackson Health System board, on Monday blasted those who are trying to stop management’s exploratory process to see if it makes sense to outsource physician services in emergency rooms.At the board’s monthly meeting, Lapciuc said ER patients often have six hour waits — and it makes sense for executives to look for alternatives.

He decried a recent union flier and political opposition as “extremely dangerous,” saying it could have “a chilling effect” on Chief Executive Carlos Migoya’s efforts to find ways to make financial decisions to improve the struggling system.

Lapciuc waived a flier financed by SEIU Local 1991, which represents Jackson’s doctors and other healthcare professionals, and lamented the lengthy discussion on the ER that occurred last week at the budget hearing of the Miami-Dade County Commission.

“We want to keep politics out of Jackson,” he said.

Board member Joaquin del Cueto, the lone board member who voted earlier to stop the outsourcing process, responded that it was impossible to separate politics from Jackson, a government entity that gets more than $300 million annually in tax money.

Migoya said it has been “disappointing to see so much misinformation” about the possibility of hiring outside doctors for the ER. He added that “we would never do anything to compromise our mission” to provide top quality care for everyone.

Union leaders and ER doctors maintain that problems in the ER are a result of a dysfunctional hospital structure. They say they have suggested ways to fix the system, but management has ignored them.

The board also heard Chief Financial Officer Mark Knight say the system had showed a surplus for the sixth straight month in August but net revenue continues to decline because fewer patients are coming to the hospitals. Cash on hand was 9.35 days for August.

After the meeting, when board member Michael Bileca, a certified public accountant, was asked about the low cash position — which no board member brought up at the public meeting — he said: “We still have a long way to go, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that.”

He noted that the system had reduced the money it owes vendors, but a hospital system like Jackson should have at least 50 or 60 days of cash, “and even that’s low.”

© 2012 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

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