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Jacksons trustee chair explains bond request

caines | 7/11/2013, 5:30 a.m.

Last Tuesday, the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners approved a measure to call a special election in November, asking voters to approve new bonds for modernization, upgrades and renovations to Jackson Health Systems [JHS] facilities. Newly-appointed chairman of The Public Health Trust Board of Trustees of JHS, Darryl Sharpton, spoke to The Miami Times about some of the highlights of the request. Miami Times [MT]: Why is Jackson embarking upon this campaign now, to ask for public financing to upgrade and improve Jackson Health System? Sharpton: Health care facilities across the county are already preparing for the healthcare challenges of the future.This modernization effort is long overdue at Jackson. The system cannot wait; we cannot stand still and be left further behind.Private hospitalsdefinitely are not standing still. MT: What are some of the projects that Jackson needs to undertake? Sharpton: Patients recover more quickly when they are in contemporary and comfortable rooms that accommodate their loved ones. This plan includes modernization of practically every inpatient unit at Jackson, as well as operating rooms and emergency departments.We need to build a new rehabilitation hospital. Although we already have one of the nations top rehabilitation services, its in an outdated building that doesnt measure up to the quality of care. Wed like to build new urgent-care centers for routine illnesses and injuries, where our residents would have access to Jackson medical teams in their own neighborhoods. These centers could also include specialty geriatric services for seniors.Everything in health care is moving rapidly toward early detection, intervention and treatment.So with that in mind, we also have plans for a new childrens ambulatory center. The proposal is also dedicated to the vital work that happens behind the scenes, from buying the latest medical equipment and systems to replacing aging elevators and air handlers. The improvements would benefit our entire system, including Jackson North, Jackson South, the Health District campus, as well our many other facilities. MT: How long would these improvements take if the bond measure is approved? Sharpton: This is a ten-year bond issue. If approved Jacksons leadership will develop a master-plan timeline to determine when projects will begin. Some, including the renovations of units of Jackson Memorial Hospital are already in the pipeline.West Wing 6 has been completed. West Wing 14 and 15 and the third and fourth floors of Holtz Childrens Hospital are scheduled to begin this year. Miami Times staff report