Days of wine and roses for Jackson Health

Jackson Health System, Southern Florida's biggest public hospital system and a perennial money loser, is now posting a surplus and will soon have close to $1 billion to perform infrastructure improvements, the Miami Herald reported.

Jackson Health projects a surplus of more than $45 million for the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, according to the Herald. However, the system hasn't yet had an official audit of that amount. "We expected to have a strong year in 2013,'' Jackson Health President and CEO Carlos Migoya said. "This proves the case.''

The health system had lost more than $400 million from 2008 to 2011, according to the article. Steward Healthcare approached the system for a potential purchase that did not come to fruition. Last year, Jackson laid off more than 1,000 employees to address the ongoing deficits. Migoya said the job cuts were required in order to match the system's size to the number of patients it was caring for, FierceHealthcare previously reported. In 2010, it cut 900 jobs.

Although the financial outlook appears rosy for now, Jackson Health projects a smaller surplus for fiscal 2014, totaling about $11 million. And that could wind up reverting to a deficit if the system has to contribute more money to its employees' health insurance plans, the Herald reports, a scenario that the Miami-Dade County Commission will decide later this year.

Moreover, Jackson Health is treating more indigent patients and also expects to continue to make do with reduced Medicaid reimbursements. Jackson has had an estimated $100 million Medicaid payments since 2010, and expects another $6 million in cuts for 2014.

In the meantime, the system will soon receive $830 million from a bond issue to make much-needed infrastructure improvements. Voters overwhelmingly approved the bond in a special election earlier this month, according to the Herald.

To learn more:
- read the Miami Herald article

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