Miami-Dade County

Jackson Health proposes new ER, pediatric pavilion in Doral

Jackson Health Systems in Miami.
Jackson Health Systems in Miami. El Nuevo Herald staff

Stepping into a so-called healthcare desert in West Miami-Dade, Jackson Health System officials on Friday proposed the purchase of a 27-acre tract in Doral where the county’s public hospital network plans to build a children’s outpatient clinic, a free-standing emergency room and urgent care center, physician clinics and other medical facilities.

Jackson officials would tap into voter-approved public funds and the hospital system’s own capital reserves to come up with $38.5 million for the land and an additional $31 million to develop the project at 7800 NW 29th Street, according to the proposal.

The purchase received the endorsement on Friday of the Citizens Advisory Committee established as a watchdog for $830 million in general obligation bonds approved by Miami-Dade voters in 2013 for refurbishment and expansion of Miami-Dade’s public hospital network.

The Public Health Trust that runs Jackson approved the land purchase immediately after the committee’s endorsement Friday.

The deal, which is contingent on an agreement for the seller to lease back part of the land for two years at $250,000 a year, must receive approval next from Miami-Dade commissioners, who likely will consider the proposal at their March 17 meeting.

Noting explosive population growth and intense development in West Miami-Dade, Jackson CEO Carlos Migoya said the project will bring the county’s public hospital system to an area with an increasing number of young families but lacking emergency medical services.

“This area, which we’re calling Jackson West, is an area that has a huge need,” said Migoya, who estimated the children’s ambulatory pavilion, free-standing emergency room and urgent care center would be constructed in two to three years.

Additional facilities may be built in subsequent years, he said, including medical offices, imaging services, diagnostics, chemotherapy and other services.

In total, Jackson intends to spend $40 million in public funds on the children’s outpatient center, and an additional $40 million on eight to 10 urgent care centers and primary care clinics throughout Miami-Dade. The Doral site is the first location to be announced.

The University of Miami, Jackson’s longtime medical partner whose physicians make up about 90 percent of the doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital, will provide the pediatricians for the children’s outpatient center in Doral, Migoya said.

UM also may “co-brand” the project with Jackson, he said, adding that Jackson’s primary care physicians and nurses also will staff the medical center.

Jackson Chief Financial Officer Mark Knight identified the area west of the Palmetto Expressway between West Flagler Street and Okeechobee Drive as “medically underserved” with few healthcare providers and no acute care hospitals.

“We wanted to look at opportunities to not only expand our foot print,” Knight said, “but to gain market entry into areas where we currently don’t have a large presence.”

Knight said the tract is large enough for future growth.