Garfield hospital levy may go on ballot

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POMEROY -- Garfield County Public Hospital District board members will meet at 3 p.m. today to consider a resolution to seek a 1-year $750,000 maintenance and operation levy to be collected in 2013. If approved, the levy will be on the Feb. 14 ballot.

Estimated cost per $1,000 assessed valuation is $2.32, meaning the owner of a property valued at $100,000 would pay $232 for the levy.

This is the first M&O levy the district has run in five years, although the district successfully ran a levy in 2008 to pay for critical hospital safety systems.

The new levy request is to fill the gap until "our Medicare revenue catches up with our new implementations," district CEO Andrew Craigie said this morning.

The district recently decided to reduce the number of beds available in the hospital from 45 to 25, to reflect changes in use. The changes are not permanent and can be easily reversed, Craigie said earlier this month.

"The challenge is that the change of the complement of beds was planned, but the impact on our revenue stream was much more dramatic and much sooner than we anticipated. The levy will get some cash in the door until our Medicare revenue catches up with our new reality," Craigie said this morning.

During a special meeting Thursday, board members also discussed the need to take out a short-term loan that will be reimbursed by Medicare to implement electronic medical records. Hospital commissioners are concerned that a delay may result in loss of the reimbursement.

The meeting today will be in the Learning Center at the hospital, 66 N. Sixth St.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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