Hospital Districts, Health Care Facilities Consider Ballot Measures To Finance Construction Plans
California Healthline highlights recent news on hospital construction ballot measures that might be placed on the Nov. 2 election ballot. Summaries are provided below.
- The finance committee of the board of directors of the Palomar Pomerado Health district last week unanimously voted to place on the Nov. 2 ballot a $496 million bond measure to pay for part of a $753 million expansion plan that would bring a new hospital to the area, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The construction plan is intended to help the health care district meet state-mandated seismic requirements and accommodate the growing local population. The expansion would include a new $531 million hospital, new satellite facilities and upgrades two existing hospitals. The finance committee recommended that the health care district issue $210 million in bonds and use about $70 million in cash reserves and a separate fund-raising initiative to finance the rest of the expansion project. The board must vote on the financing plan by Aug. 6 to qualify the bond measure for the November ballot. The measure, which must pass by a two-thirds majority, would raise property taxes in the district by about $17.75 per year for 30 years, for every $100,000 in assessed valuation (Gustafson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/30).
- The board of directors of Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol will meet Aug. 4 to vote on whether to place on the November ballot a measure to raise the annual hospital parcel tax in west Sonoma County from $60 to $155 to help pay for the construction of an urgent care center and a women's health center at the facility, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Palm Drive, with an annual budget of $40 million per year, has worked to address uneven cash flow from health insurer reimbursements and $3.5 million in debt inherited from the facility's previous owner, Columbia/HCA. The current $60 parcel tax expires in June 2006. The proposed $155 tax measure would raise $3.5 million annually and would not contain a "sunset clause," according to the Press Democrat. The hospital board has until Aug. 6 to submit the ballot measure to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 7/29).
- The Oak Valley Hospital District, which includes parts of eastern Stanislaus County and southeastern San Joaquin County, is mailing to voters ballots for a $37 million bond measure to build a 58-bed hospital next to the existing 35-bed Oak Valley Hospital. The current facility would be demolished to make room for a parking lot. The measure, which requires a two-thirds majority for approval, would implement an annual assessment of $31.15 for every $100,000 of assessed property value. The mail ballots are due by Aug. 31 (Modesto Bee, 7/31).