From $14 million for new elevators, to $55 million for renovating patient rooms, to $129 million for computer software, Jackson Health System has unveiled an $830 million wish list of building repairs, upgrades and new equipment to be funded entirely by Miami-Dade taxpayer funds.
Jackson administrators have proposed completing a major overhaul over the next 10 years of the hospital system’s main Civic Center campus and satellite hospitals in North Miami Beach and South Dade.
On Tuesday Miami-Dade commissioners are scheduled to consider a request from Jackson’s governing board for a special election in November asking voters to raise property-tax rates to pay for the initiative.
“Jackson Health System is so important to the healthcare of South Florida,’’ Commissioner Sally Heyman said. “I think the community as a whole will embrace maintaining higher standards for Jackson.’’
Two years after a financial crisis that nearly bankrupted Miami-Dade’s public hospital system, Jackson administrators say the overhaul is necessary to bring the 95-year-old public hospital system’s facilities into the 21st century and position it to better compete against local hospitals.
“The time to have done this was long before now,’’ said Darryl Sharpton, the newly elected chairman of the Public Health Trust that governs Jackson. “It’s not that this need just popped up in 2013. This is a documented need that has been there for at least eight years, and I think 10 plus years.’’
Carlos Migoya, Jackson’s chief executive, said the projects will allow the hospital to compete in a healthcare market facing rapid change under the Affordable Care Act, which will increase the number of insured Americans and create new payment models that reward physicians and hospitals based on patient outcomes instead of fee-for-service.
“This is the most competitive time in the healthcare market in the United States,’’ Migoya said. “Nothing stands still. If we waited, while everyone else is changing and upgrading, we’ll be five years behind the eight ball.
“As it is today, we’re slightly behind the eight ball,’’ he added. “But, of course, we weren’t ready to do any of this. We’ve been turning the corner for the last two years.’’
Jackson administrators say many of the proposals are for repairs postponed for years due to lack of money, and they have pitched many of the same projects before. Now, after years of sounding alarms, members of the Public Health Trust say long-deferred facility improvements — from roofs, plumbing and electrical systems, to doctor’s offices and operating rooms, and even the decor of patient rooms and public areas — have turned away the paying customers needed to help offset the enormous amount of unpaid medical care Jackson provides.
“The only way they’re going to maintain their private patients is to have facilities that people want to be in,’’ said Irene Lipof, the newest of the Trust’s seven members.
Jackson’s plans call for $477 million in construction projects, including a new rehabilitation hospital at Jackson’s main campus; a new pavilion for pediatric outpatient services, and about a dozen urgent care centers to be located throughout Miami-Dade.