Health officials and civic leaders on Tuesday kicked off the political campaign to persuade Miami-Dade voters to approve $830 million in upgrades for Jackson Health System, the county’s public hospital network, financed by a property-tax hike.
With a special election scheduled for Nov. 5, voters will hear many messages about Jackson’s life-saving efforts and future plans as part of the campaign, which is led by the political committee Citizens for a Healthy Miami-Dade.
Tuesday’s event at the Lois Pope LIFE Center in Miami marked the official launch of the campaign, though proponents have been working behind the scenes for months and raised more than $1 million in donations since May.
Among the community leaders in attendance and supporting the bond measure were Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami, which provides physicians and other services to Jackson through a long-standing agreement.
The campaign includes a website, healthymiamidade.com, featuring stories of patients who received life-saving transplants and spinal cord surgery at Jackson, as well as information about the bond and a portal for supporters to make donations or volunteer their efforts.
Administrators of the county’s taxpayer-owned hospital system say they need the bond to modernize operating rooms and emergency rooms, build a children’s ambulatory pavilion, build eight to 12 urgent care centers around Miami-Dade, upgrade hospital IT systems, purchase new medical equipment and build a new physical rehabilitation hospital.
— DANIEL CHANG