MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Speakers from all over the county lined up Thursday to urge Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Finance Recovery Board to vote against privatizing the facility’s emergency room services and the Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center.

“You have the power, please don’t abuse that power and ignore the comments of the people who are here today,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan told the board.

In the end, they decided to put off a decision, at least for now.

If the board would have voted to approve privatization of the two departments,  29 doctors and 16 nurses would be replaced with contract employees; other support staff would not.

On Thursday, the board decided that hospital management should get together with the doctors and nurses who would be affected to see if they could come to a workable solution.  If no workable resolution is found, they would meet again in January.

In the mean time hospital management still plans to study the possibility of privatizing the two departments as cost saving measure.  Whether they privatize the departments or not, hospital officials said their patients will always come first.

“The care that our patients receive coming into our ER yesterday, the care that they receive today as they come in, the care that they receive tomorrow will be the same,” said hospital spokesman Ed O’Dell.

Many former patients like Roy Hardemon aren’t buying it. The mechanic said he wants the same doctors who saved his life in 1984 after a care fell on him to remain there.

“If it wasn’t for the front door of Jackson and its Emergency Room I most likely wouldn’t be here today,” said Hardemon.

Even the Chair of the Finance Recovery Board said he didn’t favor the proposal, but pointed out that the hospital was still on financial shaky ground.

“Jackson has 13 days of cash on hand, which is approximately $54 million in the bank right now,” said board chairman Marcos Lapciuc. “Out of those $54 million, we owe $130 million approximately.”

Fire, police, and nursing unions have all expressed their opposition to the proposal.


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