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Layoffs at Jackson, “Right-Size” Doesn’t Fit All

If you thought that Miami’s various problems are bad, you are wrong. They are REALLY bad. As if garnering the unfortunate distinction of the “most miserable city” with horrific levels of corruption and income-inequality and an incessant foreclosure crisis was not enough, Miami is facing a number of heightened attacks including cuts to services. In the latest downward spiral, the Jackson Hospital’s Chief Executive, Carlos Migoya, announced massive lay-offs last week – without even consulting his own board of directors. Last week, we learned about the rise in child homelessness and poverty in Miami. This week, we will learn about what many consider an attack against the very system charged with overseeing the health of Miamians, many who are poor and marginalized. An apt question to ask at this moment is: During a time in which more and more Miamians are suffering, does it make sense to lay off more workers, particularly folks who ensure that we are healthy?

According to Migoya, “This is not about a profit and loss, this is about efficiency. What we are looking to do at this point, is right sizing this organization so we have the right number of employees for the kind of volumes that we have.” But Martha Baker, a local nurse, has a different perspective: “This is what you get when you hire a billionaire banker and then cut him loose to take a chainsaw to healthcare in Miami-Dade County. It’s unbelievable that he wouldn’t consult the nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals — who have sacrificed out of their pockets to keep Jackson afloat — about how his plan to ‘right-size’ the system might harm patient care. We have no idea how Mr. Migoya thinks patient care can be maintained with such drastic cuts to frontline caregivers.”

Apparently, Migoya didn’t only fail to consult his own Board. He also failed to consult the very people who are tasked to ensure that Miamians can remain free of disease, affliction, and suffering. But before we move on to what others have say about this, let’s take a look at the numbers and put them in perspective: 1,115 positions will be either laid off or just completely gutted. Let’s put that number in perspective: 1115 job cuts means a 10 percent reduction of Jackson’s workforce! The cuts include 593 nurses, 31 medical professionals, and 14 doctors.

That’s 593 nurses, 31 medical professionals, and 14 doctors less for all of us during those times in which we are in pain and need of prompt and professional service during our times of greatest need. According to David Woolsey, a Jackson Memorial emergency doctor, that implies that we may have to be in more pain for a longer period of time because of less prompt service and possibly longer waiting times.  He said he always recommends ER patients seek follow-up care at clinics, but patients are now telling him that they’re calling the clinics and being told “they have to wait months” for appointments. Woolsey said one patient told him, “Doc, don’t tell me to call 1-800-DROPDEAD. Just get me an appointment.”

Sounds REALLY bad? Definitely. But Miamians are not taking these attacks laying down. Numerous organizations are coming out strongly against the cuts so that Miamians will not have to worry about yet another facet of their life being thrown under a bus of callous indifference. Earlier today, hospital workers, union members, community residents, 1miami members, and members of the local occupy movement rallied at the Government Center to send a message to our local government. Maggie Pena, a Miami resident, stated: “Migoya’s move is nothing but an attack against patient care. We stand united against this outrageous attack.” Indeed, as the coming days and weeks transpire, we at 1Miami will continue keep you informed about upcoming attacks against the 99% and actions to bridge our community’s divides to achieve fairness.

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