Local

Ailing Jackson Facilities Need Taxpayer Help

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

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Healthwatch

MIAMI (CBS4/THE MIAMI HERALD) – Miami-Dade commissioners will be asked to call a special election this year and voters to approve millions of dollars for upgrades for Jackson Health System.

According to CBS4 news partner, The Miami Herald, Jackson Health System board members voted Monday to seek an $830 million bond.

The issue was not on the agenda for the day and was added at the last minute by Darryl Sharpton, the board’s chairman.

The request came from the Public Health Trust that runs Jackson.

The bond would assist the taxpayer-owned hospital with renovations and equipment upgrades.

Facilities included in the list of repairs include the main hospital in Miami’s civic center and satellite hospitals in North Miami Beach and South Miami-Dade.

“We’re at a crossroads,’’ Sharpton said. “We have to do something drastically different or risk being irrelevant.’’

At least one Miami-Dade Commissioner has expressed consideration of the request.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson chairs the county’s health and social services committee and plans to sponsor the resolution July 3rd at the next county commission meeting.

“It’s definitely needed,’’ Edmonson said Monday. “They have failing equipment … leaking roofs. Equipment needs to be updated. The emergency room as well, there’s just so much that needs to be done at Jackson. It’s been neglected for years.’’

After three years of losses adding up to $419 million, Sharpton says the hospital system is on the road to financial recovery.

“Jackson is now profitable and is solvent for the first time in many years,’’ Sharpton said at Monday’s board meeting. “Financially we are better by almost any empirical measure.’’

Sharpton said he believes upgrades would help increase in-patient admissions and now hopes taxpayers will help the long term sustainability of Jackson Health System.

If commissioners agree, the bond would be up for a vote during a special election in November, 2013.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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