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Dade Voters Approve Tax Increase For Jackson Health Improvements

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

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

David-Sutta-600x450 David Sutta
David Sutta joined the CBS4 news team in April of 2007. As S...
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Politics

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Voters in Miami-Dade County have approved a measure which will raise their property taxes to fund a major overhaul of the Jackson Health System.

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jackson Health System, @JacksonHealth, tweeted “We will look back on this election as a turning point that empowered Jackson…” Carlos Migoya,” CEO of Jackson.

The CEO explained that his aim is to make the hospital more competitive. On its current path, paying customers, those with insurance, are not flocking to Jackson but choosing other hospitals. It leaves the hospital with the poor, often uninsured or underinsured patients, which leads to a deficit.

Despite excellent rankings of its doctors the challenge has been decades of no budget to update facilities and The University of Miami hospital is located right across the street.

Viviene Dixon-Shim with AFSCME 1363, the hospitals general employee union, put it bluntly: “If you walk over to Cedars Hospital and walk back over to Jackson then you can compare. We want to make sure that we are equipped to take any patients.”

With the funding, Jackson plans to:

  • Modernize their operating, emergency and patient rooms.
  • The children’s ER would be expanded to expedite emergencies.
  • Build up to dozen urgent care centers around the county.
  • Upgrade the hospitals IT and medical equipment. That includes everything from hospital beds to CT scanners, cardiology X-ray systems and oncology radiation devices.
  • Build a new physical rehab facility.

While it sounds great to some, bonds can be tricky. The Miami Marlins Ballpark cost taxpayer’s roughly $400 million dollars and after interest on the loans it really was over two billion dollars.

CBS4’s David Sutta asked Carlos Migoya what the cost would really be for the bonds. “I don’t know about total numbers,” Migoya responded.

While it seemed odd the man pushing the deal didn’t know the true cost, the County confirmed their conservative estimates on the $830 million dollar loan will really be $1.4 billion when paid off in 30-40 years from now.

Migoya quickly pointed out this is not another stadium.

“We are taking about the public health of Miami-Dade County.  That’s the difference,” he said.

The overhaul would be funded through an increase in Miami-Dade’s property taxes. According to county projections, the debt would be paid through property taxes that peak in 2024 at $48.80 for a homeowner with a taxable property value of $200,000 in an unincorporated neighborhood like Kendall. The first year hike would be closer to $9.80.

Migoya believes the average homeowner will pay an additional $15 a year to cover the upgrades.  Money well spent according to him and lots of community leaders.

“Buildings, equipment, technology, anything that will be a fixed asset. It’s not for operational budget. There is no money for salaries. There is no money for any other expenses,” Migoya explained.

For complete election night results go to http://results.enr.clarityelections.com/FL/Dade/49184/120679/en/summary.html.

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