University discusses plans to purchase Cedars hospital

The University of Miami may purchase Cedars Medical Center, an accredited 560-bed hospital located across the street from Jackson Memorial Hospital, The Miami Herald reported earlier this month.

The addition of Cedars would disrupt plans for UM to build its own hospital, a $460 million endeavor resulting in a 14-story, 144-bed, state-of-the-art facility.

The proposed UM-owned hospital was part of a medical school makeover by new UM dean, Pascal J. Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt still plans to initiate new research in the field of genetics by recruiting 22 doctors from Duke University and launching the Miami Institute of Human Genomics.

The Herald also reported that the officials at the Public Health Trust, the board that oversees Jackson, are worried about the creation of a UM-owned hospital. The officials feared that doctors might send only poor and uninsured patients to Jackson and treat insured patients at their own institution.

The addition of Cedars would be expensive, causing an assumed $11.7 billion in debt for a new owner. The Agency for Health Care Administration reported that Cedars is continually profitable, earning $15 million in 2005.

Although statistics from the South Florida Hospital and Healthcare Association have shown there is no shortage of hospital beds in Miami-Dade County, UM doctors sent patients to Cedars in the past due to surgery-scheduling conflicts at Jackson.

Furthermore, Lourdes Garrido, spokeswoman for Hospital Corporation of America, said 23 UM residents in six specialties are currently assigned to Cedars.

Robert Alonso, spokesman for Jackson, spoke to The Herald about the Cedars-UM deal speculations.

“All of this is preliminary,” Alonso said. “It’s really too early for us to say anything.”

This story was compiled by Karyn Meshbane. She may be contacted at