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CEO on Safety Net's Turnaround: 'Never Waste a Crisis'

 |  By Philip Betbeze  
   January 24, 2014

When healthcare outsider Carlos Migoya took over as CEO of one of the most dysfunctional public hospital systems in the nation, Miami's Jackson Health had lost hundreds of millions of dollars and was on the cusp of being sold to a for-profit chain. Three years later, things are very different.

Carlos Migoya, President and CEO of Jackson Health System

During his 40 years as a banker, Carlos Migoya spent a lot of time making personal calls on businesses. He says he usually made between 20 and 30 calls a week. That level of contact helped him develop a strong sense about which businesses were likely having major problems.

"It got so I could quickly tell the difference between what was a well-run business and what was not," he says. And how did he feel about Miami, FL-based Jackson Health System?

"I had never seen a place that was as broken as this was."

Migoya had little to prove. He didn't need, or initially ask for, the job to help fix what was so broken. In what was widely seen as a last-chance opportunity to keep the health system under county ownership, Migoya came to Jackson in May 2011 as its president and CEO after a year as Miami city manager, which followed his retirement from banking.

He certainly didn't need the money. Retiring from the last of several senior positions at Wachovia Bank took care of that. In fact, he donated $160,000—the bonus he earned for turning around Jackson's money-losing ways—back to the hospital itself.

"I wasn't doing this as a career move, but as a community one," he says.


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Philip Betbeze is the senior leadership editor at HealthLeaders.

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