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Dade Commission To Take Up Oversight Panel For Jackson Improvement Funds

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Jackson Health System (Source: CBS4)

Jackson Health System (Source: CBS4)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade commissioners will take up a proposal to create a citizens’ panel to oversee $830 million in public money to upgrade Jackson Health System.

The proposal, by Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, will get its first reading on February 19th, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

Under the commissioner’s proposal, the panel would be comprised of nine volunteers with a variety of professional experience.

During the run-up to last November’s referendum of public financing for renovations and upgrades at Jackson, Edmonson and others vowed to create the watchdog committee.

Miami-Dade voters overwhelmingly approved the $830 million bond measure, on the strength of a campaign that raised nearly $2 million in four months and promised a laundry list of improvements to the county’s aging public hospital network, according to the Herald.

So far, the public funds for Jackson improvements remain untouched.

The oversight panel would monitor the spending of the funds and report to the county commission, the mayor and the Public Health Trust that runs Jackson.

Jackson officials say the upgrades and renovations are needed to attract more insured patients to the hospital network.

Edmonson said she expects her proposal will receive initial approval but she expects it to undergo changes before the final vote.

Commissioner Juan Zapata, who opposed the Jackson bond referendum, told the Miami Herald that he thinks the committee needs to have the ability to do more than just watch over funds. It should be empowered to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Miami Herald contributed to this report.)

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