UHealth Celebrates Opening of Medical Center at Miami Jackson Senior High School
With the cutting of a green ribbon, UHealth – The University of Miami Health System and Miami-Dade County Public Schools celebrated a first-of-its-kind healthcare partnership. Dozens of people attended the September 16 ribbon cutting for the ceremonial opening of the UHealth Medical Center at Miami Jackson Senior High School, which is designed to provide accessible and affordable healthcare to the school district’s employees, dependents and retirees.
“We can provide high-quality insurance for our University of Miami employees, and Miami-Dade Public Schools can provide it for their employees, but providing access to high-quality care is now the key,” said University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala. “We have the Affordable Care Act for people in our community but that is not enough, as far as I am concerned. This center will make a difference for the employees, for their families, and for retirees. We pledge that we will provide the highest-quality care.”
Alberto Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, called the opening a celebration of a common desire to provide world-class, compassionate care.
“Today is about delivering something that the nation is struggling to find, which is affordable, high-quality healthcare. If we can deliver it in a convenient way, with significant discounts for our employees, then we need to pursue it,” said Carvalho, who described himself as “patient number one” after getting a check-up in mid-August when the UHealth Medical Center first started seeing patients.
Patients can take advantage of annual exams, lab services, wellness education, and when needed, direct referrals to UHealth specialists and subspecialists. Fully electronic medical records link the medical center with physicians, staff and pharmacies.
With its central location at 1751 NW 36th St., extended hours and low co-pays – some as low as $10 – the medical center provides an alternative in an era of dramatic changes in healthcare delivery. Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School and CEO of the University of Miami Health System, said primary care providers are critical in today’s healthcare marketplace.
“Preventive medicine is the best form of medicine,” he said. “We don’t want anyone to wait for a problem to be there, we want them to anticipate them and make sure they figure out if it is something they need to pay attention to. As Dean of the Miller School of Medicine, it is an honor to provide this service to our educators.”
The medical center operates under the Miller School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, led by Chair Robert Schwartz, M.D. He said it is a key element in providing early intervention to patients facing some of today’s biggest healthcare issues: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, mental health issues and others.
“This practice is going to make a huge difference,” said Schwartz. “It provides a medical home where patients can get primary care, preventive medicine, classes on nutrition, physical therapy, and much more. We are bringing the latest technology in healthcare here. That is my commitment and goal.”
Dominique Saliba, M.D., MPH, is the Medical Director of UHealth Medical Center at Miami Jackson Senior High School. She will provide care for patients, along with a nurse practitioner and nursing staff.
“We will do our best to provide first-quality care to whoever walks through that door,” Saliba said. “I have been provided with an excellent staff and they will deliver quality care in a respectful, compassionate, cost-effective manner.”
The opening of the medical center prompted Carlos Rios, the principal of Miami Jackson Senior High School, to get a physical exam — his first in more than two years.
“One of the things about the work that we do is that it is stressful, and long hours, and you never make time for the important things like going to a doctor,” he said. “So the fact that I was able to come in and get everything checked out made me very relieved.”
Fedrick Ingram, President of the United Teachers of Dade, spoke about his first-hand experience with UHealth care, when his wife battled breast cancer last year. He said the expertise of the doctors and nurses at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center saved her life.
“I want to thank you all for everything you do,” he said. “You are life-savers. We entrust you with everything and all the knowledge that you have. To bring this type of world-class care to these employees is not only groundbreaking, it is landmark, it is earth-shattering and proactive in a way we haven’t seen anywhere in this country.”