FIU doctors to practice at Jackson Memorial

Jackson Health System and Florida International University’s Wertheim College of Medicine on Wednesday announced plans for FIU physicians to begin providing care to hospitalized patients at Jackson Memorial in Miami, marking the first time that physicians affiliated with any academic institution other than the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine will work at the hospital.

FIU physicians have practiced at Jackson North Medical Center in North Miami Beach since 2007.

But Jackson Memorial — the centerpiece of the health system’s countywide network of clinics and hospitals — has been UM’s exclusive territory for nearly half a century.

Under the agreement announced Wednesday, FIU will base its new hospitalist program at Jackson Memorial, and the medical school’s fourth-year students will do rotations at the hospital.

FIU will essentially lease its physicians to Jackson Memorial, and the hospital system will bill for their services, which will include admitting patients, observing them and writing discharge orders.

Carlos Migoya, chief executive of the system, said the program will place four to five FIU physicians at Jackson Memorial who will provide care to as many as 18 hospitalized patients per day. The FIU physicians, who already practice in the community, also will refer patients to Jackson Memorial for hospitalization when necessary.

“It’s the beginning of having some integration,’’ Migoya said. “What we’re talking about here is the first step to have FIU doctors at Jackson.’’

John Rock, a physician and dean of FIU’s medical school, said the hospitalist program at Jackson Memorial will allow the university to expand its role in South Florida’s healthcare.

Currently, FIU provides a handful of doctors including three primary care physicians — but no hospitalists — at Jackson North.

“Our students have loved the environment of learning that Jackson is unique for,’’ Rock said, “and now we see this as an extension to Jackson’s main campus.’’

Rock said FIU physicians will admit patients to a designated ward, and they may collaborate with UM physicians who provide consultative services for patients.

“We’re all partners in a very important mission,’’ he said.

Depending on the hospital’s need, Migoya said, Jackson Memorial may integrate some FIU physician specialists in the future.

“We’re definitely looking at the presence of FIU growing over time,’’ he said. “How quickly will depend on the actual school itself and how quickly it grows.’’

Florida granted FIU a medical school in 2006, and the university’s College of Medicine officially opened its doors three years later. The medical school’s first class — 33 students — graduated in April, with 100 percent achieving placement in a hospital residency program.

UM and Jackson, two of South Florida’s oldest and largest institutions, have had a partnership dating back 60 years through which UM provides more than 90 percent of Jackson Memorial’s doctors.

In return, Jackson pays UM — $102.5 million this year — and commits UM physicians to multi-year exclusivity provisions for transplant, trauma, pediatrics and obstetrics services.

The Public Health Trust that governs Jackson has agreed to pay FIU $1.2 million for hospitalist services at Jackson Memorial for the year.

Under an agreement that governs the relationship between FIU, UM and Jackson, the three institutions are supposed to “work jointly ... to identify opportunities for collaboration.’’

Rock emphasized that they would continue to work together to meet the healthcare needs of Miami-Dade residents.

“The three of us are really coming forward with a solution to care for our community, and provide excellent care through Jackson,’’ he said.

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