Miami safety-net health system hopes upgrades will draw insured patients

Jackson Health System, a public safety-net system based in Miami, is using bond money to compete for insured patients, according to the Miami Herald.

Miami-Dade taxpayers approved an $830 million bond in 2013. The health system has received approval from the board that manages it to spend at least $725 million of that money and has already spent about $470 million as it bets on luring insured patients, according to the newspaper.

Bond money is being used to update elevators and equipment and other renovations at the Jackson North Medical Center in North Miami Beach and building the Jackson West Medical Center in Doral, which is expected to open next October.

The health system also is investing $117 million to build the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center to Cure Paralysis at UHealth/Jackson Memorial. 

Jackson is a nonprofit academic medical system that provides care to patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay. As a safety-net system that primarily serves uninsured and underinsured patients and also cares for county inmates, the system receives hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding from property taxes and a half-penny sales tax, according to the Herald.

CFO Mark Knight told the newspaper the system already has "a corner on the uninsured market" but must "generate some profitability to support that mission."

The push to attract insured patients comes after Miami-based Jackson Health System laid off an undisclosed number of employees earlier this year, citing an increase in uninsured patients and other challenges.

Read the full Herald report here


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