Jackson Health System turned a small profit in January as administrators for Miami-Dade’s public hospital network held down labor costs despite higher-than-expected patient admissions, according to the latest financial report.
Reversing an earlier assessment that greater numbers of uninsured patients were flooding emergency rooms and causing a financial drain, Chief Executive Carlos Migoya said in a memo issued Friday that the increase was actually due to those patients staying in the hospital longer.
“The apparent spike in self-pay care — particularly at Jackson Memorial Hospital — is due to increased length of stay among those patients, not an unusually large number of patients in that category,’’ Migoya wrote in a memo to the Public Health Trust that runs the hospital system.
Migoya said Jackson administrators have focused on managing individual cases of uninsured patients to ensure an appropriate length of stay and reduce waste.
The approach appears to be working, according to Migoya’s assessment. Jackson returned to profitability in January, posting a bottom-line surplus of nearly $3.1 million, exceeding the budgeted amount of about $1 million.
That’s a reversal from December, a month for which Jackson administrators reported a loss of nearly $1 million.
Jackson administrators also must contend with a financial hit from the Miami-Dade Commission's decision last week to eliminate employee contributions of 5 percent of base pay toward health benefits, which will cost an additional $18 million for the year ending Sept. 30.
Still, Migoya said he expects Jackson will end the year with the previously budgeted surplus of $11.6 million.