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Jackson Announces Large-Scale Layoffs

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Jackson Memorial Hospital (Source: www.jhsmiami.org)

Jackson Memorial Hospital (Source: http://www.jhsmiami.org)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Jackson Health System chief executive officer Carlos Migoya announced Tuesday that more than 900 people will be laid off and nearly 200 positions will be eliminated in a cost cutting move for the troubled hospital system.

Migoya said a total of 920 people will be laid off and that layoff notices will go out as early as April 6. In addition, 195 positions will simply be eliminated from the books, or as Jackson and businesses are trying to spin it today, “right-sizing.”

In all, 1,115 positions will be either laid off or eliminated, which represents 10 percent of Jackson’s workforce.

“This is not about a profit and loss, this is about efficiency,” said Migoya, at an afternoon news conference at the hospital. “What we are looking to do at this point, is right sizing this organization so we have the right number of employees for the kind of volumes that we have.”

Still, Migoya said in his memorandum announcing the cuts that Jackson will not close any service lines.

“Having these reductions that we are talking about will not have any impact on any service line. We will continue to have every service line that we currently have, and we are not closing any service line in the hospital,” said Migoya.

According to Migoya, the layoffs will help save the hospital system $55 million in 2012 and another $69 million next year. Migoya also said the move will put Jackson back into the fiscal black and it could possibly turn a profit by summer. Jackson had previously saved approximately $12.5 million.

Approximately 350 employees will be re-hired as part-time workers with benefits.

Elizabeth Bilz practically lives at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Her mother Patricia has been recovering here for more than a year after complications from surgery at another hospital. She says care here has gone downhill with recent budget cuts.

“The nurses are phenomenal but they’re overworked,” Bilz told CBS4’s Natalia Zea.

Now that she knows Jackson plans to chop 10 percent of its staff, she questions whether her mother will be safe there.

“It already seems like they’re understaffed to begin with so cutting 10 percent, I think they need to be going in the other direction, I think they need to be adding 10 percent.”

Migoya says patient care will not be affected.

“We are going to have the right staff of employees in every department that we have,” he said.

The layoffs are coming at the same time that Migoya is pushing to expand by adding trauma centers to Jackson North and Jackson South. But Migoya says that could be months away.

“We cannot afford to have extra staff waiting for those positions to happen, if and when they happen.”

Felix Joseph has cleaned the floors at Jackson for 21 years.

“If he decides to send me home what I can do? I go,” he told Zea.  He says morale at work has never been so low.

”It’s a big difference, big difference. Lay off people, people go home, when they have layoffs people cry, what can they do? Bills come every day.”

Late Tuesday night, Martha Baker, president of the nurse’s union released a statement saying in part,

“This is what you get when you hire a billionaire banker and then cut him loose to take a chainsaw to healthcare in Miami-Dade County. We have no idea how Mr. Migoya thinks patient care can be maintained with such drastic cuts to frontline caregivers.”

Migoya says the pink slips will go out April 6th and will be effective 21 days after that.


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