The Sept. 16 editorial, Another Jackson ‘emergency,’ supporting the Jackson Financial Recovery Board’s pursuit of privatization misses the points made at the public hearing by community activists and former and current legislators about the unique and highly specialized services at the Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center. In fact, the editorial completely ignored the existence of the Rape Treatment Center.
This community worked over many years to create a multidisciplinary team; highly skilled and highly trained in the medical, legal and psychological expertise required for rape victims. The result has been a highly respected and effective rape treatment center, serving the needs of all of Miami-Dade County. No other hospital in the county provides this unique multidisciplinary approach, including the gathering of forensic medical evidence required for investigation and prosecution and the training of medical support personnel.
There’s a reason why rape victims are all taken to Jackson’s main campus, and not to any of the other hospital emergency rooms in the county — they have no such services available. Other hospital systems, such as Baptist Health System’s great hospitals and emergency rooms, provide privatized medical services, but they don’t serve the critically needed functions of the rape treatment center. The bottom line cannot be driven by profit and serve the uniquely specialized needs of the victims and the legal community at the same time.
The Roxcy Bolton Rape Treatment Center has received $2.5 million over the past five years from the Office of Violence Against Women in the Justice Department. The likelihood of losing out in the competitive award process would certainly increase if the center is privatized. To qualify for grant funding, being affiliated with the public hospital and aligned with the public mission of the hospital scores major points in the grant process. Introducing for-profit care providers would certainly jeopardize the funds for this critical community service.
Privatizing through a for-profit entity isn’t in the best interests of the vulnerable populations that need to be served and the taxpayers of Miami-Dade County. Nor would the care system be the same for paying and non-paying patients, if any for-profit company is in the picture.
We hope the Financial Recovery Board will give serious consideration to all of the current recommendations for improving efficiency in the emergency room system and continue to maintain the highly specialized rape treatment center appropriately.
Gwen Margolis, state senator, Miami
Elaine Bloom, former state representative, Miami Beach
Cindy Lerner, mayor, Pinecrest