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The Jackson bond referendum -— why it matters for Blacks

JHS board chairman says “we must modernize our facilities”

D. Kevin McNeir | 10/17/2013, 9 a.m.

Leaders weigh-in on the bond

T. Willard Fair, president/CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami, says he “absolutely” supports the bond referendum.

“This is not a Black or a white issue — this is a quality of life issue and it impacts the lives of all Dade County residents,” he said. “You cannot be a 21st century medical center with 19th century equipment. While Jackson had its years of being heavily in debt, the professional and lay leadership they have today represents some of the best we have to offer. Miami-Dade County could not replace Jackson Health System — that means we must enhance it into the 22nd century.”

H.T. Smith, noted Black attorney and professor of law at FIU, agrees.

“Jackson has been the primary care physician for the Black community for many years,” he said. “For many of us, their first contact with medical care was at Jackson — either because they were born there or because of the need for emergency care. It has been our medical lifeline. Now with ObamaCare and citizens being required to have insurance, people will have a choice. Jackson needs this bond in order to make itself more competitive. I tell people if I’m dying, take me to Jackson, but during my recovery, take me somewhere with better facilities. Jackson is on course to becoming a first class facility — but it won’t be one without this bond.”

Annie Neasman, president/CEO, Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Inc. says the bond is essential to Jackson’s staying “on the edge.”

“In order to stay competitive, promote customer-friendly environments and provide the best quality health care is always an ongoing fight to offer the best conditions for your customers and staff,” she said. “Modern technology is changing every day and to stay on the cutting edge of medical sciences and interventions, Jackson must have the proper tools to function. Since County officials and the public have focused on the reality of Jackson’s possible closure and the impact of who would serve this population, it has sent an electrifying awakening call. For so long, Jackson has had to make necessary changes which required difficult decisions. But with 10,000 people among its staff, one cannot imagine the impact that losing this facility would have on our health and on our economy.”