Do we or don't we want to? Will we or won't we have...a hospital?
The Boise City News
For the fifth time, since I arrived at The Boise City News, the Memorial Hospital Board is in search of an administrator.
It has to be, and have been, frustrating; Jo Pierce told me she came here knowing it was a short run.
Alan Bird, “...loved it here, loved the people.” But, he needed more money, as we all seem to.
I had hopes that as a local, John Smith could pull it together; but he decided insurance and a stint as a board member was where he was needed.
Larry Knetzer, told us in a public meeting that “...the hospital was better off with him than without him.” But, he decided he'd rather have the money Moore County Texas owed him.
Now Sharon Cox has come and gone, (And, “...the people really touched her.”) and the search for “The perfect fit.” is on again.
In the teeming pool of potential administrators, the word must be out, “Cimarron County is a long, tough row...but the people are nice.”
In her last public meeting Ms. Cox painted a gloomy picture; red ink has flowed since January to nearly $200 thousand. Over years debts have piled up to vendors for another quarter of a million; vendors who have routinely cut off accounts, made numerous phone calls and just “dropped in.”
She also had drawn the ire of private citizens by recommending the board consider changing the ratio of Medicaid and private-pay residents of the nursing home.
Other suggestions Cox had made: Close the ER and Acute Care; add beds to the nursing home; raise the prices of services rendered; debt reorganization; establish a hospital district by taxing property.
Cox is gone, so I assume these suggestions were not appealing to the board.
In my opinion, if we close any portion of the hospital plant, we run the risk of not being able to meet standards when we try to reopen. If we close it, we might have to build a new facility to ever have another hospital; not a good option.
Raise the prices? I've been told that since Castle Rock raised prices, especially on lab fees, we are the highest in the area; again probably not an option.
Let's look at an ad valorem tax. Set on property values, it would seem as equitable as taxes can be.
Having a hospital isn't as easy as it once was. We are now a nation controlled by unfunded mandates. The federal government tells us the standards by which we must raise food, educate our children and care for our ill and elderly, but gives us little or no money with which to do it. What money we get is strangled by more regulations; who we may hire, from whom we can buy; how our buildings must be constructed, the treatments we can give.
Each state is then given the mandate to meet the federal standards; and again, very little money is released. So, it becomes our responsibility to educate our children, feed our poor and heal our sick.
We already have a sales tax that helps fund the hospital. But we are a mobile county; we spend much of our money elsewhere; and often for good reason. Shoes, for instance; the ability to buy shoes in Cimarron County is difficult, if not nearly impossible. So for each dollar we spend on shoes outside the county, we lose the use of about ten cents, and of that dime, the hospital district loses two cents. Those dimes and pennies add up.
Do we really want a hospital or would we be better served with the urgent care clinic?
Might we be able to strike a deal with Texas County Memorial?
It boils down to this; we have to tell the County Commissioners and the board members what we expect, what we want in the way of a hospital. If, as a county, or as a society within Cimarron County, we really want to keep our hospital and make it viable again we might need to grab our bootstraps and get it done. Because if we don't no one else will.
The word for the week is fiat.
Boise City News