Still others are undocumented immigrants with no means of returning to their country of origin, he said.
Jackson offers to pay airfare for patients who are undocumented immigrants, Knight said. But hospital administrators also are working with embassies to locate patients’ family members in their home countries and expedite their return.
Another part of the reason patients are staying longer at Jackson is due to the nature of the hospital’s services, said Marcos Lapciuc, chairman of the Trust.
Jackson’s trauma center, burn unit and transplant services all provide care that leans toward long-term stays.
“If we take a look at the business lines that we do, we are almost by definition trauma and transplant heavily skewed,’’ Lapciuc said. “We are going to continue to see longer lengths of stay. We are going to continue to see inefficiencies... because of the nature of our business.’’
Joe Arriola, a Trust member, echoed Lapciuc’s concerns, and said that Jackson has been unable to plan long term for the types of services that patients demand — cardiology, pulmonology — because of the hospital’s financial struggles.
“If we don’t change, if we don’t start selling what people want to buy, we are going to be stuck with what we don’t want, which is this long-term care, the very complex cases and all that,’’ Arriola said. “Long term care, we can’t survive with that. On the contrary, we will sink quickly.’’
In other business, Trust members attended a meeting of the Miami-Dade County Commission, which was considering a request from Jackson to build a helipad at its satellite hospital in South Miami-Dade. Commissioners approved the helipad unanimously. Jackson officials applied for the helipad in anticipation of opening a trauma center at Jackson South should state legislators allow more trauma centers in the state.