For Jacksonville’s safety-net hospital UF Health, money has been tight for a number of years.
And the latest fiscal constraints are driving a change to the business model, per UF Health CEO Leon Haley.
In a letter to Jacksonville City Council President Anna Lopez Brosche, Haley notes that the hospital is negotiating to sell its outpatient dialysis service to a national, not-for-profit provider by the end of June.
The unnamed company, per Haley, already has a contract to handle these services.
Practical considerations govern the move.
One such: that the business model is moving away from hospital settings to free-standing dialysis centers.
Another consideration: the hospital’s current outpatient dialysis center is in need of “significant … expensive … renovation and modernization.”
But the deciding factor seems to be that the move is made necessary by what Haley calls “significant federal and state funding shortfalls.”
State funding, per Haley, has dropped by $31 million in the last three years. Additionally, $12.7 million in federal cuts will happen this calendar year.
This shortfall threatens core services; the sale is framed as a way to make up some of that lost money.
Jacksonville, unlike other Florida cities of its size, lacks an indigent care tax; this surfeit makes UF Health funding especially vulnerable to flux in state and federal funding.
UF Health is the sixth-largest employer in the area, a major training ground for medical professionals throughout the state, and a health care resource and safety net for indigent populations.
The city contribution to the hospital has held steady for years at just over $26 million.