Jackson Health System eliminates 240 positions

admin | 11/23/2011, 5:05 a.m.

Is this just the beginning?

After years of financial struggle and turmoil at Jackson Health System (JHS), the company has fired close to 200 employees and closed additional positions that were previously vacant. We are taking immediate steps to eliminate approximately 240 positions, said Carlos A. Migoya, 61, president and chief executive officer JHS, in a memorandum. Approximately 170 of those positions are currently filled; the rest are vacancies that will be eliminated. This reduction, along with other staffing initiatives, will create recurring annual savings of approximately $18 million. The cuts represent about 2.5 percent of Jacksons workforce of nearly 11,000. Recently, a majority of their employees were ordered to take two weeks of unpaid furlough time four ofthose days will have to be taken before the first of the year. Just last month, Joshua Nemzoff, a Philadelphia-based hospital consultant that has been studying JHS closely for two years, said the health system was essentially bankrupt. The employees at Jackson disproportionally come from the communities around Jackson, said Martha Baker, 55, president of the Local 1991 Service Employees International Union. So while the whole community is about 11 percent Black, the Jackson workforce is about 48 percent Black. This will really hit hard for a lot of [Black] people. In another attempt to curve operation costs, JHSs board approved letting management continue with its plan to out-source the task of qualifying patients for Medicaid to an Atlanta-based company. By out-sourcing the work, Jackson hopes it will be able to save about $3 million annually. However, the move will require the termination of an additional 30 employees. We are working with Migoya, Baker said. I would think that in the next 10 days we will have a contract settled. That, I believe, will put an end to the furloughs and the layoffs. Finding a way to give Migoya the money he has been waiting for will put an end to that. There is no reason on Earth that healthcare professions need to fund the recession every other hospital is giving their employees raises. This was a bomb that was dropped on us. Migoya called me about five minutes before he hit the send button on the layoff notices. Migoya was unavailable to respond to Bakers comments. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com