CITIZEN'S PRESENTATION MARTHA BAKER, RN, PRESIDENT OF SEIU 1991, RE: AN UPDATE ON JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF JACKSON'S RNS, PHYSICIANS, AND HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WHO ARE REPRESENTED BY SEIU 1991
Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Prime Sponsor
Public Safety & Healthcare Admin Cmte
Assistant County Attorney Valda Christian read the foregoing citizen’s presentation into the record.
Ms. Martha Baker, RN, President of SEIU 1991 provided an update on Jackson Health System from the perspective of Jackson’s nurses, doctors and health professionals. She noted $55 million in agreed upon contract negotiations; however, explained that Jackson’s Administration recently decided to eliminate the guaranteed work week and to impose furloughs. Ms. Baker said Jackson reduced its biweekly overtime expenses from $1.5 to $1.2 million primarily through hiring 140 new nurses. She noted that any financial benefit realized from a furlough would be defeated by replacing caregivers and that patient services would be impacted without replacing furloughed workers. Ms. Baker said that furloughs would not help Jackson financially due to replacement personnel and overtime costs. She noted that the Surgical Intensive Care unit was shutting down beds because its nurses were being furloughed and Recovery Room nurses were now being paid overtime to care for these patients. Ms. Baker said that patients were suffering as a result of nursing staff being required to care for additional patients. She asked the Committee to assist the Union in settling their contract.
Ms Baker noted that the FY 2011 Annual Operating Agreement (AOA) with the University of Miami (UM) was being negotiated behind closed doors. She said this years’ AOA was being negotiated retrospectively which was not the case last year. Ms. Baker noted UM and Jackson were strong partners and needed to succeed together; however, she was concerned that UM needed to be held accountable. She said patients waited 24 hours at Jackson’s Emergency Room to be admitted to the hospital by a UM doctor, rather than 90 minutes as specified in the AOA. Ms. Baker noted that Jackson suffered financially and patients’ suffered medically with delayed medical attention. She distributed a summary of the current AOA detailing the expenditure of funds and methods to hold UM accountable. Ms. Baker said commissioners would be voting on the AOA and should understand that agreement, particularly, how public grant funding given to a private university was spent; and how the $4.6 million given to UM’s Dean was being used to help Jackson and its patients. Public accountability of public healthcare funding was needed, especially when $20 million of $130 million paid to UM for caring of indigent and uninsured patients was not reconciled, noted Ms. Baker. She said Jackson had never reconciled this account; however, a reconciliation of the prior quarter found that Jackson overpaid UM by $1.5 million. Ms. Baker noted UM was given $4 million for Bascom Palmer services; however, was unable to determine whether an appropriate amount of care was provided for this level of reimbursement.
In conclusion, Ms. Baker noted the Union’s desire to settle the contract and to make Jackson sustainable. She said that the UM and labor partnerships were the two biggest financial items currently under negotiation; that labor was willing to do its part; that UM needed to be held accountable; and that Jackson could be sustainable.
Commissioner Jordan noted she did not see Jackson’s attorney at today’s meeting and questioned whether the AOA had already been submitted to this Committee.
Assistant County Attorney Christian responded to Commissioner Jordan that Attorney Coleman was no longer employed by the County and that she had assumed his responsibilities. She noted that a draft AOA was completed; however, the business terms of that document had not been finalized and discussions were ongoing.
Commissioner Jordan noted she presented an Agenda Item at a previous Committee meeting that would separate AOA negotiations between the County and the University of Miami and the County and Florida International University. She said that Ms. Baker had brought to the Committee’s attention several accountability measures which needed to be included in the AOA.
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