Jackson Health blasted for million-dollar international marketing

It's been less than a year since Jackson Health System said it would assume direct control of its international marketing program, after the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the Miami-Dade mayor and county commissioners deemed it wasteful. The public hospital system is governed by the Public Health Trust, which acts on behalf of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.

Yet, the OIG's newest report still condemns the marketing program, in which it says the hospital system spends millions of dollars to attract foreign patients, reports the Miami Herald yesterday.

Foundation Health Services (FHS) spent about $7 million annually on overseas marketing, while the new entity now running the program, Jackson Memorial International, spends about $2 million less, according to the article.

But the OIG report questions whether the international marketing efforts are worth the millions of dollars Jackson Health is shelling out, especially since the institution lost $337 million the past two years.

The OIG says Jackson needs to accurately measure the number of foreign patients the marketing program attracted. The current "Z92" coding system is "an unreliable indicator of a patient's classification," notes the OIG. In fact, FHS employees often would change patient coding to Z92 to enhance the program's performance data, a former FHS employee told the Herald.

However, Jackson still seems determined to improve the international marketing program so it can bring more patients into the system and boost revenue, agreeing with all 16 of the report's recommendations, including better accounting.

For more:
- read the Miami Herald article