East Washingtonian - Your Hometown News Source

Hospital Update


April 16, 2020

-File photo

The hospital levy ballots were mailed on April 10 and election day is April 28.

This week we would like to take time to address some more common questions and concerns about the Hospital District and the levy.

The first issue is the cost of laboratory procedures done at the hospital. It does generally cost a patient more to have labs done at the hospital than it would to have them done at an outpatient lab. This is not because our prices are significantly higher than other places. We did an analysis on all of our charges hospital wide to see how we compared to other facilities in the area and then adjusted our prices to be in line with the rest of the market. The main reason people pay more for labs at the hospital has to do with the way it is processed by their insurance. A hospital lab charge is usually applied to a person's deductible so you could end up paying for the full price of the lab. This is different than when labs are done at an outpatient lab where most often someone just pays a set co-pay. So, the difference people see in what they are paying is mostly due to insurance processes and the fact that ours are hospital-based labs not that our prices are much higher.

The second concern is the hospital building that was built in 1947 is under a moratorium by the state due to inadequacies in the electrical infrastructure. We need to get that system up to current standards so that we can add HVAC and look at possibly adding other services to that part of the building. It was originally estimated that the project would cost $1.9 million. As we have done further planning and exploring, estimates are now closer to $800,000. We have already secured $250,000 in grant funding for the project and are working on grant proposals for another $475,000.

We want to avoid having to ask to community to support a bond to pay for this project and will continue to work on as much grant funding as possible.

The last item to discuss is the amount people can expect to pay if the levy passes. It has been speculated that the amount a farmer or land owner would pay is the equivalent of them hiring a full-time employee. An employee making minimum wage with benefits cost their employer approximately $36,500 a year. At the proposed levy rate, a person would have to own $23.4 million worth of property in Garfield County to pay that much towards the hospital levy. The average homeowner in Garfield County will pay approximately $9 per month for the levy. It is also worth noting that around 70% of Garfield County residents are property owners and would be contributing to the levy.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns and your continued support is greatly appreciated.

Be sure to vote.


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