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After push from Miami-Dade Commissioners, Jackson Health pulls back on planned furloughs

The moves have been postponed indefinitely.

Carlos Migoya, Chief Executive of Jackson Hospital, said he’s pulling back on planned furloughs and pay cuts after a pair of Miami-Dade Commissioners pushed to protect those employees.

Those furloughs and pay cuts were not going to affect workers who care for patients. The salary cuts were set to apply to executives and managers. And nurses and physicians were exempt from furloughs.

But in a memo highlighted by Jim DeFede of CBS Miami, Migoya is now backing off those measures “indefinitely.”

“All the staffing and personnel changes I announced last week, including the furloughs, are being deferred indefinitely,” Migoya wrote, while noting those moves could still be necessary.

“I hope we will be able to cancel these measures entirely as the federal and state responses to COVID-19 move forward. While Jackson always operates on a narrow financial margin, we believe our foundation is strong enough to wait a little longer.”

Commissioners Esteban Bovo and Daniella Levine Cava had push the state to send funds to Jackson to ensure the hospital system is fully functional as the county continues to lead the state in confirmed coronavirus cases.

Migoya had previously argued the cuts are necessary due to a drop in non-emergency care amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. DeSantis ordered a stop to elective surgeries on March 20.

That prompted both Bovo and Levine Cava — who are also competing to be the county’s next Mayor — to author separate letters to DeSantis to ensure Jackson’s staff remains ready.

“It’s vital that we do everything possible so that Jackson Health System can retain ALL its employees during this critical time,” Bovo wrote.

“JHS, like many other hospitals nationwide, canceled elective surgery and procedures to prepare and support the unanticipated inflow of COVID-19 patients. Due to this financial strain, JHS has made the decision to furlough its non-essential employees. However, ALL public health employees are essential during public health crises.”

Added Levine Cava, “While hospital administrators look for viable solutions to balance the financial books, I believe furloughs of any kind for any hospital worker sends the wrong message and it’s clearly the wrong time.”

Those furloughs are now on hold, according to Migoya.

Both commissioners also pointed to the recently-approved federal CARES Act, which offers $100 billion to help hospitals weather the current storm. As that money awaits disbursement, Levine Cava had argued the state should step in.

“The State of Florida can and must provide financial support to Jackson Health in order to ensure that it is not diminished in its ability to respond to this public health crisis and to ensure that all its employees can continue to provide the healthcare upon which our community depends,” Levine Cava wrote to the Governor.

“I believe JHS is working to obtain a line of credit and believe that approval of such credit should require the suspension of any furloughs. I share this because we are doing all we can in our County to balance the growing needs of many sectors that are being hit hard as result of the crisis. It is my hope that federal and state funding will be available to payoff emergency funding utilized through the line of credit to ensure JHS remains financially solvent and resolute.”

Bovo closed his request highlighting the importance of the Jackson Health System to the Miami-Dade community.

“For over 100 years, Jackson has provided the highest standard of care regardless of an individual’s ability to pay,” Bovo wrote.

“It plays an essential role in serving the most vulnerable in our community. Therefore, I respectfully urge our state leadership to make Jackson Health System whole during this time. I am committed to working with you and furthermore, assisting our public institutions in continuing their mission of serving our community.”

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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