Doctors and Deadbeats

Jackson Memorial Hospital's foreign patients owe the county more than $85 million

Murai notes that his committee has already approved a couple of measures to avert future losses. They include having PHT employees assume management of the International Health Center, which screens foreign patients and has been run by University of Miami officials. Thirty of the patients in the OIG draft report had their accounts managed by the International Health Center.

The committee also endorsed hiring two international collection agencies to "go after this money very aggressively," Murai says, adding that after the case of the foreign burn victim, the PHT tightened up loopholes that allowed the president alone to waive the rules for admitting uninsured foreign patients. Now the president and the PHT chairman both must sign such waivers. "There are new policies that have been put in place over the last four or five months that should prevent this from happening in the future," Murai says. "We can't waste one more day. We owe this to the people of Miami-Dade County."

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