Word that massive layoffs are imminent at Jackson Health System's hospitals has doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers concerned about where the axe will fall.
As a registered nurse, Baker is also one of Jackson's over 12,000 employees.
"Last month they were losing $3 million a month, three days later, oh my gosh we're losing $14 million a month," Baker said. "Somebody needs to be held accountable."
The healthcare union will be meeting with a representative from the Labor Relations department Tuesday morning to receive a list of affected departments and employees at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
The deficit has been building for years and suddenly the projected loss for 2010 is now a jaw-dropping $229 million -- four times more than what was initially expected. The nation's third largest public health system is facing a monumental fiscal crisis.
Jackson health executives point to the inefficient billing and collections process, saying a big chunk of bills -- many uninsured patients' bills -- were never paid.
"The community should ask the public health trust 'Why are we here?'" Baker said. "There's some talk closing the Jackson South ER, some 45 percent of those patients are unfunded."
Baker said she's disappointed that Jackson's Public Health Trust and CEO, Dr. Eneida Roldan didn't first sit down with the union to explore other options before making this decision.
Its costs about $2 billion a year to operate the tax-assisted hospital system. On Friday, CEO Dr. Eneida Roldan sent out a letter to employees stating the leadership is trying to "Save Jackson...we have reduced the number of contracts we hold with outside agencies, lowered the cost for those that remain, cut the compensation that our top executives receive, and closed some services that were no longer profitable."
Last Wednesday, 22 non-union employees were laid off and apparently that's just the beginning.
"We're outraged and tomorrow is gonna be the day we get the list of perhaps a significant number of layoffs, we're not sure, there's been absolutely no communication with us on that," Baker said.