‘Yes’ on Proposition 1 for QVMC’s vision: Column
By Glenda Bishop
On November 8, 2017, we had an “All Staff Meeting” at Quincy Valley Medical Center. It was an important day. Proposition #1 had received over 58% “yes votes,” just short of the required 60%, and a significant improvement over a similar request in 2016.
During that meeting I was able to tell our Staff about community members who had already called, encouraging the Board of Commissioners to consider a February ballot. The Commissioners recognized a strong movement of support from voters and local businesses throughout the Hospital District. The message was clear: “Try again; this is too important for our community.”
Proposition #1 is before the voters, ballots are out, and February 13 is Election Day.
This is a time for positive discussions about the future for QVMC. Members of Quincy Valley Medical Center’s leadership team together with representatives from Quincy and George have painstakingly evaluated our need for local hospital services. These groups recognize and agree that change is critical in order to ensure the ongoing presence of an Emergency Department, laboratory and imaging, and a range of other valuable health care services.
As part of that change, we began to meet with executives from surrounding health care systems, seeking a model that would provide for the health care needs of a growing Quincy/George population as well as address the financial challenges that have been a source of concern.
We have now moved on to asking several other questions: What do we need in Quincy? How can a partner help improve our community’s access to health care? And how do we structure a partnership to merge the best of our Hospital District’s resources with the resources of a larger organization in a manner that will benefit both systems?
These are not easy questions, but they are critical to developing a health care infrastructure that will protect our citizens and our community’s economic growth.
Proposition #1 is a request for a one-year, $875,000 maintenance and operations levy. This request is not for building improvements or debt reduction. This levy would help address the complex financial challenges of operations.
Looking at the challenges, we see positive responses. During 2017, our managers adjusted their budgets and trimmed wherever possible, reducing the impact of an anticipated annual loss by almost $700,000. Two years ago Live Nation meaningfully added physician services at the Gorge, dramatically reducing the challenges previously impacting our summer operations.
We continue to look for every possible means to address the concerns of our County Commissioners, and this levy would help address the gap between our anticipated revenue and the increasing costs of providing services. It would give us a more stable financial position during 2019 as we identify and establish a future partnership.
We are fortunate to enjoy the benefits of data centers that contribute so significantly to the economy of our Hospital District. Other M&O levy attempts of years past would have meant tax assessments in excess of five times the estimated amount of Proposition #1. If approved, this levy will be just 21.79¢ per $1,000 of assessed value – on a $250,000 home taxpayers would be assessed less than $55 for just one year.
What does Proposition #1 mean to Quincy? During this process of developing a long-term plan, Proposition #1 allows us to continue meeting the needs of the community every day. Multiple times a day ambulances pull into our Emergency Department; physicians remain committed to our facility; employees invest their professional careers to care for patients; and our doors are open. Proposition #1 helps to protect life-saving emergency services; we’ve heard from many community members during the weeks of this campaign who’ve passionately shared their experiences and gratitude.
Proposition #1 provides an opportunity to fully develop plans for partnership as a way to meet the exciting growth of our community. Proposition #1 is a vote for the future of our local hospital, built in 1959 upon the vision of men and women who recognized a need for local health care. I encourage you to vote “Yes” on Proposition #1 and be part of Quincy Valley Medical Center’s developing vision for quality, local health care.
Glenda Bishop is CEO of Quincy Valley Medical Center and can be contacted at 509-787-3531.