March 2, 2024

Carlos Migoya leads Jackson Health to a full recovery

Mike Vogel | 7/26/2019

‘It’s not like we’re done’

Jackson still has challenges. As union president Baker says, “It’s not like we’re done and rolling in the dough.” Without tax support, Jackson would be losing money. Like some other huge hospitals in Florida, Jackson gets just one star out of a potential five in the federal government’s rating of Medicare-certified hospitals based on quality measures and patient surveys. Jackson says the ratings don’t take into account that its patients include the sickest of the sick from around the globe. Migoya says the system has a plan to improve its star rating “dramatically” in the next three years.

Another challenge, as elsewhere in health care, is money as insurers and the government look to contain costs. The Legislature has cut funding for uninsured care; Jackson’s share of state dollars for low-income people is $105 million less annually than it was five years ago, Migoya says.

He says he expects greater financial stability when all Jackson’s new facilities begin generating cash. He turned 69 this year and has two more years on his contract and expects to stay beyond that to stabilize the new operations. “How much longer, I really don’t know at this point in time,” he says.

As of June, the avid road bike rider and skier was very much in touch with the patient side of health care, recovering from a knee replacement four weeks earlier. He reported the pain and swelling diminishing over the weeks and that he was doing his physical therapy religiously. “Come December,” he says. “I want to be able to ski.”

Of course, he had the surgery done by a UM physician at Jackson.

Migoya on …

Affordable Care Act
Obamacare had — has — a lot of problems in it, but Obamacare is only the first step toward a solution. As we continue to work on the second phase or the third or fourth, eventually we will get it right.

Drug Prices
Pharma overall takes advantage of the whole black box of R&D, and based on that, they overcharge. We need to find a better way to deal with that so we can have more acceptable costs as they relate to pharmaceuticals.

Expanding Medicare
Medicare for all is not affordable. Look, I believe that every person should have insurance. But incentivizing people to have insurance — we’ll never get there because the average 25 year old, even if you make the insurance affordable at $150 a month, is going to say, “I don’t need it.” The way the current system works, the people who are really incentivized to get insurance are those who are sick and the elderly. So insurance becomes more expensive because you have the people who use it the most as the only ones who are insured. I believe that instead of incentivizing the individuals, we should be incentivizing employers. Obamacare exempted the small businesses. A huge percentage of the United States is employed by small businesses. If somehow we were to incentivize it by reducing payroll tax cost or some other kind of tax — not 100% subsidize but some kind of incentive to split the cost — that would help everyone along. That will also take pressure off Medicaid and Medicare, which is also something that right now is unaffordable for this country.


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