Jackson Health numbers improve, cash reserve remains low

Jackson Health System, the public agency that operates six hospitals and a health plan in Miami's Dade County, reported improved numbers for fiscal 2009-2010, but has little cash on hand.

Jackson posted an estimated operating loss of $90 million during the fiscal year, down from $259 million in the prior year. However, that figure has yet to be audited.

Revenue reached a record $1.1 billion, which was "remarkable considering the recent decline in patient volume due to market conditions," the system said in a statement. It added that its improved financial condition would allow it to perform some capital improvements during fiscal 2010-2011.

However, the South Florida Business Journal reports that Jackson has only 18.1 days of cash on hand, a total that would not sustain the system should a fiscal crisis emerge.

Nevertheless, that figure remained an improvement from earlier this year, when the system was on the verge of running out of cash completely and was mulling closing two hospitals.

Jackson said its finance department was working to close out more accounts receivable open for 90 days or longer. It was also working with clinicians to ensure that coding was performed more accurately and that uninsured patients filled out the necessary paperwork in order to qualify for Medicaid. The system's financial woes stem largely from its inability to meet targets for collecting on gross charges.

The system has also hired a new chief financial officer, Mark T. Knight, who is currently CFO of the Health Care District of Palm Beach County. He begins the new job on Nov. 1.

For more:
- read the South Florida Business Journal article
- here's the Jackson Health press release
- read the Miami Herald article