Jackson Health takes heat from OIG for wasting money

Under fire from the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General, the Miami-Dade mayor and county commissioners, Jackson Health System announced that it will take control of its international marketing program, the Miami Herald reports.

The marketing was the subject of a highly critical report on wasteful spending issued last week by the Inspector General of Miami-Dade County. Charges included $7,000 for flowers and birthdays cakes, $12,000 for local limos and $6,000 for a five-day cruise. Those were just part of over $100,000 in questionable credit card expenditures by employees of Foundation Health Services, an outside group that runs JHS's international marketing program for $7 million a year.

The report chastised Jackson's governing board, the Public Health Trust, for not overseeing Foundation Health Services more closely.

Last Friday, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez admonished Jackson Health, saying he was "deeply troubled" by the OIG report. After the report came out, two county commissioners wanted all FHS funding stopped and demanded Jackson get back any money spent for unapproved or improper expenditures.

In a letter sent Tuesday to the mayor, Jackson leaders CEO Eneida Roldan and Public Health Trust Chairman John Copeland said that two JHS executives would assume direct oversight of fiscal operations related to the international marketing program.

FHS CEO Rolando Rodriguez defended how he ran the program in a statement issued Tuesday, noting that the group helped generate more than $50 million after expenses for Jackson Memorial Hospital. But he also said FHS was pleased "to help the hospital move [the international marketing] back under its own management."

Jackson officials still support the need to market to lure paying international patients to compensate for the charity care given to uninsured local patients, the Herald reports.

To learn more:
- read the OIG report
- read the FHS and Jackson Health System response
- see the Miami Herald stories: article 1 and article 2

Related Stories:
Jackson Health System: 2009 bond sale becomes 2010 SEC investigation
Jackson Health's financial, labor practices slammed by Florida grand jury
Jackson Health numbers improve, cash reserve remains low
Jackson Health won't collect $310 million in patient charges

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