Despite recent concerns over the financial stability of the Jackson Health System, plans for the new Jackson South Community Hospital still are on track, according to Robert G. Cuming, vice president and chief administrative officer of the hospital.
In a presentation to members of the Economical Development Council of South Dade (EDC) in Palmetto Bay on Apr. 13, Cuming assured them that work on the expansion and renovation of the facility, located at 9333 SW 152 St. (Coral Reef Drive), continues and that the improved hospital will have a positive impact on the community.
“There will be greater access to medical services locally, and we will be hiring approximately 80 people in addition to the 700 we already employ there,” Cuming said.
The expansion will result in 157,000 square feet of new construction and 23,000 square feet of renovations. There will be 48 new private rooms designed with soothing interiors and 12 new critical care beds. The Emergency Department will double its capacity, with 20 additional ER bed spaces and with emergency cardiology services. An expanded outpatient facility will ease access to diagnostic services such as imaging and gastrointestinal procedures.
Cuming said that the first phase of the emergency room expansion should be ready by August, with the second phase following in November. Work on the “Tower” section of the complex is expected to be completed by August 2011.
The complex will feature seven new operating room suites equipped with stateof- the-art systems and technology, and there also will be a new pharmacy and a new cafeteria with outdoor eating areas, as well as a new central energy plant. Cuming said that the present facility continues to function while construction is underway, and that although construction contractor trailers take up a lot of the parking spaces in the front, there still is plenty of parking on the north side of the complex, accessible from SW 150th Street. He urged everyone to avoid parking on the east side in spaces belonging to businesses there as it may result in their cars being towed.
Laura Lagomasino, business development director for Jackson South, who ran the PowerPoint presentation for the meeting, said afterward that a prime reason for the expansion plans going forward, even in difficult times, was the county’s desire to keep the two important auxiliary facilities (Jackson North and Jackson South) open for the benefit of the communities.
“So Jackson Health System reexamined everything and worked out a solution,” Lagomasino said. “And I think that the North and South facilities will balance things out with Jackson Memorial, which is a public hospital and teaching center as well.”
Cuming closed his remarks with high praise for the staff of Jackson South, who already have been treating patients in the area for years and continue to do so. “The men and women who work in that hospital are phenomenal,” Cuming said. “Jackson purchased the facility, formerly Deering Hospital, in July of 2001. Many people that I meet there were employees at Deering, so they bring a wealth of experience and institutional memory about the hospital, and that’s a very valuable component of the care that they provide to our community.”