Hospital Asks for $250,000, County Votes Tomorrow
Tomorrow, Monday Aug. 24 the Lake County Commissioners (BOCC) will vote on two major issues concerning the St. Vincent Hospital (SVH) situation at their regular 10 a.m. meeting at the courthouse. This was one of many facts brought to light at the SVH Board’s special joint meeting with the BOCC last Thursday, Aug. 20.
First, the hospital has requested a $250,000 ‘advance’ from the Commissioners for “cash flow needs,” for the remainder of 2015, according to SVH interim CEO Sam Radke. In short, the hospital cannot make its payroll and is asking the county to cover the gap at least through the November election to see if voters agree with the new Centura Health (CH) proposal. In this video, are more of the details, including a slight “modification” to the hospital’s quarter of a million dollar ‘advance’ request.
Secondly at tomorrow’s 10 a.m. meeting, the Commissioners will determine what the language will be for the county’s ballot question. In the simplest terms, the hospital question will be presented to voters, in two parts on the November ballot. The county component will address a mill-levy increase in order to ‘buy-into’ Centura’s proposal, with the county paying the healthcare company $750,000 a year to run and manage Emergency Medical Services (EMS/ambulance service). Ultimately, the county’s ballot question will supplement the hospital’s ballot question concerning the Centura plan; think of it as a package deal.
“The taxpayers are going to be asked to vote on whether they want to pay taxes to support certain healthcare institutions,” explained SVH Board Member Dennis Johnson. “And if you want the services that Centura has offered as part of this package, then you have the right to vote for that.”
In this video, SVH Board Member Johnson gives a brief history of the situation and outlines the specifics of the Centura Health Proposal which will be presented to voters on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The Commissioners have chosen to put the EMS possible expenditure to a vote of the people as well.
“We’re optimistic about the partnership that has been formed with Centura,” summarized Commissioner Mike Bordogna. “We all want a new hospital, but we also want to know how realistic this is and is the (ballot) question clear to voters, yet keeps both (hospital and commissioners) feet to the fire.”
In this video, the hospital and commissioners talk the big numbers, what the mill-levy request looks like on both sides, as well as the legal and ethical issues of the situation.
Also in attendance at the meeting was Dr. Lisa Zwerdlinger, owner of Rocky Mountain Family Practice (RMFP), a private healthcare provider in Leadville for nearly 20 years.
“Rocky Mountain Family Practice was offered many times to be part of this planning. I believe that healthcare in this community cannot be isolated. We can’t have a hospital that isn’t financially solvent, in isolation, without working together with the community members,” explained Dr. Lisa (as she is familiarly known in the Leadville community). In this video, Dr. Lisa outlines her proposal, including what RMFP can specifically bring to the table, as it continues to be part of Lake County’s healthcare solution.
There a couple of important meetings coming up this week regarding St. Vincent Hospital situation. The first is tomorrow – Monday, Aug. 24 – the Board of County Commissioners regular meeting at 10 a.m. in the courthouse. Here is a video of Lake County Commissioners Bruce Hix, Mike Bordogna and Dolores Semsack share their thoughts and concerns regarding the upcoming hospital mill-levy increase ballot question.
The second meeting is the St. Vincent Hospital Board Meeting to be held this Thursday, Aug. 27, 10 a.m. in the conference room of the hospital.