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Latest News - February 2012

February 8, 2012
Jackson Health System, union reach deal to save $150M
Source: South Florida Business Journal
By: Brian Bandell, Senior Reporter

ackson Health System hopes to save $150 million after reaching a deal with one of its unions.

Jackson Health System has reached an agreement with the union representing most of the health care workers at its facilities to save about $150 million in salary and benefits over the next three years.

The news was announced by the Service Employees International Union Local 1991, which said the deal will make the public health system more competitive and help it get past its year-to-year survival mode.

The agreement still requires approval by Jackson Health System’s governing board and the Miami-Dade County Commission.

“Our nurses and health care professionals have again demonstrated that their commitment to this health system and this community is as profound as their commitment to their patients and the practice of medicine,” JHS President and CEO Carlos A. Migoya said in a news release.

JHS lost $95.1 million for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Its executives have been trying to reduce labor costs, as well as its payments to partner University of Miami, to stop the financial bleeding.

JHS previously announced plans to save $27.5 million in the current fiscal year by furloughing its workforce on certain days.

Under the new labor deal, SEIU-represented workers at JHS will not get automatic raises for merit or cost-of-living adjustments over the next three years. But they stand to financially benefit, should the health system improve its financial condition. The pension system will be reformed so that all JHS employees will contribute 3 percent of their salary to it. Its employee benefit system will be standardized to mirror the Florida Retirement System Pension Plan.

The agreement also calls for reforming JHS’s overtime payments to reduce spending, while maintaining a 40-hour workweek for full-time employees.

“This is a major sacrifice on the part of our families to help save Jackson,” said SEIU Local 1991 President Martha Baker, a JHS nurse. “As we did last year, we are not only saving patients, but helping save Jackson itself.”

This agreement appears to resolve some of the public health system’s biggest financial issues for now, but things could get worse during the current legislative session. Gov. Rick Scott proposed a reduction in state Medicaid

funding that is estimated to cost Jackson Health System $133.5 million a year, should it be enacted.

February 6, 2012



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