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Rule change has disabled drivers paying for parking at Florida hospital

Some disabled-rights advocates slammed a Florida hospital for "putting salt in the wound" of its most vulnerable patients.

The Jackson Health System said it will end free parking for disabled drivers visiting its facility to enable two hours of free parking for all visitors, The Miami Herald reported.

The hospital said the new price plan, which will now offer all visitors the first two hours free, will help the hospital stay competitive and simplifies its pricing system. Some disabled-rights advocates saw the move as simply an added burden.

"It's like putting salt in the wounds of people who can't put food on the table," Ernie Martinez, one of those advocates, told the paper. Martinez said it often takes disabled patients longer to get to the facility.

The hospital reportedly said the rule change does not affect those who require a modified car. The normal parking fee is $2 an hour. The report noted that low-income patients already get free parking. The measure won a waiver to existing law after a vote by the Miami-Dade County Commission..

"Let's not assume all disabled are poor," Barbara Jordan, a commissioner who voted to approve the new fee, said.

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