Hospital to survey public, asking if it would support a new facility
People living in the Quincy Valley Medical Center’s hospital district soon will be asked if they support the building of a new medical services facility in Quincy.
The hospital district’s governing board expects to mail to residents in early March a short survey, asking them, among other things, if they would vote for a bond that would be used to build a new facility.
The draft survey states that the new proposed facility “may be smaller” and “focused on the emergency room and the priorities” determined by the community. The draft survey, at this time, also asks people to prioritize hospital services, including the emergency room, a physician/mid-level clinic, long-term care beds and an urgent care.
The survey will go to some 6,000 households in the Quincy area, said Randy Zolman, president of the hospital board. It will be printed in both English and Spanish.
The hospital, opened in 1959, is reaching the “end of its useful life,” the survey states. The facility is in need of a new roof, a $250,000 repair. Its outdated fire suppression system also must be replaced. And the hospital board on Monday approved the spending of up to $8,300 to repair the facility’s boiler.
However, voters in November 2014 turned down a $2.2 million hospital levy that board members had hoped would help pay down the struggling hospital’s debt. While no end-of-the-year financial numbers were available at the hospital’s regular meeting on Monday, the hospital is expected to have lost about $1 million in 2015, hospital officials have said.
“All we can really say at this moment is it is going to be bleak,” hospital Commissioner Don Condit said during the meeting.
The district’s warrant line, or loan, with Grant County is at $3,050,000; the county has said the warrant line must be capped at $3 million, county Treasurer Darryl Pheasant said on Wednesday.
Pheasant said the survey is coming two years too late. Commissioners asked the hospital to do a survey of the district more than two years ago, he said. The public should be deciding what that facility looks like, he added.
“We were pushing for them to figure out the needs of their people and what (services) they would pay for – this was a conversation we started two years ago,” Pheasant said.
Last week, Zolman and Condit also approached the city of Quincy’s General Government and Finance Committee to ask for its financial support in building a new facility. Zolman told the committee a new facility would cost about $30 million. The hospital district would have to come up with $6 million to $8 million to seek grants and loans, he said.
Zolman has said he would like to see a bond or levy before voters this fall. The survey would help to build a new facility model that the voters may support, he told the city committee.
If the city is able to give the hospital district some financial help, it would have a non-voting, advisory position on the hospital board, Zolman also told the committee.
From the city’s standpoint, the city is most interested in retaining an emergency room in Quincy, Mayor Jim Hemberry said.
However, the emergency room is one of the biggest financial losers for the hospital, Zolman said. Every year, the hospital would have to do an operations and maintenance levy to cover the ER, he said.
In other hospital business, the board has received 12 resumes from across the nation from candidates applying for the open CEO position at the hospital, Zolman said. The position was opened when former CEO Mehdi Merred left the position in December. Those resumes were narrowed down to five earlier this week, and Zolman hopes a pool of three finalists will be determined by the end of this week.
Next, the three candidates will be asked to visit Quincy at a community meeting in February. It will be an opportunity for candidates to speak to the community and for residents to ask questions, Zolman said.
A social event also will be held so people can visit with the candidates, he added.
— By Jill FitzSimmons, firstname.lastname@example.org