Trustees for Miami-Dade’s public hospital network, Jackson Health System, on Tuesday approved spending an additional $1.5 million in taxpayer funds to cover rising costs for four expansion and renovation projects at Jackson Memorial in Miami.
Among the projects facing higher-than-expected costs are a new linear accelerator suite for cancer care, which will require additional design and construction, electrical upgrades and protective shielding, which will cost about $570,000 more than anticipated. The total project cost is now $3.87 million, including the cost of purchasing the medical equipment and building out the suite.
Issa Nuñez, vice president of facilities and construction, told Jackson Health trustees that the additional costs were needed because the vault that houses the linear accelerator — a large device used for beam radiation therapy — is not large enough, nor does it have enough steel and concrete shielding.
Also raising costs: additional electrical work for a new neurological imaging and intervention machine at Jackson Memorial, which raises the project’s price tag by about $282,000, bringing the total cost to about $2.87 million, including the purchase of the new equipment.
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The other two projects include renovations to an auditorium, which will cost about $1.4 million — an increase of $544,000 over earlier projections — and the repair and replacement of more than 880 fire safety doors across 12 buildings on the Jackson Memorial campus for $150,000.
Also Tuesday, Jackson Health trustees approved a list of legislative priorities for 2017, including advocating for additional state and federal dollars to help Miami-Dade’s public hospital system cover the costs of caring for the uninsured.
Migoya told trustees it was too early to tell exactly what the incoming Trump administration or state legislators will do to help hospitals such as Jackson Health, which provides care to many low-income and uninsured patients — costs once covered through a system of Medicaid grants that were supposed to be phased out under the Affordable Care Act.
“Maybe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not a train,” Migoya said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”