MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Angry and frustrated by planned cuts and layoffs at Jackson Memorial Health System, employees and their supporters held a rally outside the county’s government center during Tuesday’s commission meeting.
In an effort to save $55 million in 2012 and $69 million the following year, Jackson officials announced that more than 1100 positions, or roughly 10 percent of the workforce, will be cut through terminations or elimination of open positions.
According to CEO Carlos Migoya’s plan, 920 employees will be laid off. The cuts include nearly 600 nurses, 31 medical professionals and 14 doctors. Also, 195 vacant positions would be eliminated.
The layoff notices could go out as early as April 6th.
Hospital officials have said their patient load is down 7 percent since last October. They add that drop is not because everyone is healthy rather it’s a direct result of the economy.
The layoffs come as Jackson employees are already facing $100 million dollars in pay cuts and eight furlough days. Jackson Memorial Health System spokesperson Ed O’Dell says the cuts are about making the hospital more efficient.
“Our efficiencies show that even with the furloughs, we have been able to maintain patient care that Jackson is know for,” said O’Dell.
Critics argue the move could put patient care at risk. They say 75 percent of hospitals nationwide are staffed better than Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“That’s what happens after 2,000 have been laid off on Mr. Migoya’s watch. This is what happens when you hire a banker to run healthcare,” said Martha Baker with the nurses’ union. “We the community, the nurses and doctors and healthcare workers are you that times are dangerous for patients.”
When asked if he felt his plans weres ‘killing’ Jackson, Migoya said quite the contrary.
‘Quite the contrary. We are working everyway we can to be efficient and to be able to have the right level of car in our hospitals,” said Migoya. “The patient care is at the highest level it’s been in many, many years.”
The dozens and dozens of hospital workers who showed up at the rally and who may be impacted by layoffs said they’re won’t go quietly for the sake of their patients and families.
“A lot of my co-workers are head of house holds, you know this is a pay check, this is what they need to support their households,” said nurse Sara Kinsman.
During the rally, the employees learned their efforts had paid off. Commission Chairman Joe Martinez said there would be a public hearing on Migoya’s plan. Commissioners briefly discussed it at the day’s hearing and then set a future date for the public hearing.