The Grays Harbor Community Hospital public forums continue this week as efforts continue to inform residents about what would come of the hospital if it went public. Last night, representatives from the hospital spoke to approximately 50 people in the Aberdeen High School Commons and explained the process.
CEO Tom Jensen told KXRO that over the past 4 years, the hospital has shown a loss of around $10 million. This money was covered with cash reserves, but if that trend continues, additional programs and jobs will need to be adjusted in order to continue providing current services.
Prior to 2010, the facility was consistently showing profits. Jensen said that a lot of the problems came after 2008 when local mills began closing.
Jensen, and other hospital representatives across the state, worked together to form a bill for Sole Community Hospitals that would provide a better rate for Medicare and Medicaid to assist these rural facilities. Jensen said that originally, forming a public hospital district was not a requirement, but was added by legislators in order to get the bill to pass.
Jensen told the crowd that the whole reason to form a public hospital district would be to access this bill. If it were to form, a board of commissioners would be voted on by the public that would become the governing body.
Questions from the crowd primarily dealt with the new taxes that would be imposed onto residents, equaling approximately $4.17 per $100,000 in property value monthly. Cosmopolis resident Jack Sturdivant asked what extra costs could be associated once the people vote.
Jensen said that the maximum that could be initially levied without a vote would be $.50, but an extra $.25 could be levied by a public vote.
Former Grays Harbor County Sheriff and County Commissioner Dennis Morrisette, who has served on the GHCH board of directors and sits on the Public Hospital Steering Committee, spoke and said that while not everybody uses the hospital on a regular basis, at some point it will become much needed.
The public forums continue this week for residents to learn more.
Friday, April 25th – 12:00 – 1:00 pm – Grays Harbor Community Hospital – Conference Room C
Monday, April 28th – 6:30 – 7:30 pm – North Beach High School Commons