We’ve run this levy before. Why are we running it again?
We need a new hospital.
- Our current hospital is out of compliance and overcrowded.
- *Mandatory infrastructure updates to our current hospital like plumbing, electric, and HVAC will cost over $14 million and will not address capacity, overcrowding, shared patient rooms, lack of privacy, lack of parking, and difficult access. In other words, patients and visitors won’t realize much benefit from that investment. In addition, the hospital’s debt capacity maxed out so hospital funding for a future facility will be exhausted. All funds for that future building will then have to come from taxes or fundraising. Presently, the hospital can afford to pay for over half.
- *Renovating our current hospital will cost $12 million MORE than building a new hospital.
- *Exhaustive studies over the past 10 years have all concluded that a new hospital is the least expensive and most viable solution for our hospital district.
- Construction costs are rising every year.
*Please visit http://www.lakechelancommunityhospital.com/hospital-reports/ for studies and reports.
Healthcare has changed a lot since our hospital opened in 1972. How will the new hospital address the changes?
Here are a few of the highlights:
- The new hospital will meet all Washington State Department of Health standards.
- Increased square footage will allow the new hospital to expand services like orthopedics.
- The new hospital will have private in-patient rooms that will ensure patient privacy, reduce the danger of infection, and provide adequate space for visitors.
- The entire hospital will be American Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant.
- The new hospital will have electrical and HVAC systems designed for efficiency and cost-saving.
- The new hospital will have spacious surgical, obstetrics and emergency centers that can accommodate increasing patient numbers.
- The new hospital will solve the current access issues, and feature plenty of on-site parking to accommodate patients and visitors; it will also have a heliport.
- Land surrounding the new hospital, and already owned by the hospital district will accommodate future expansion, if necessary.
- The new hospital will employ more people with living-wage jobs, which will help our economy.
Where will the new hospital be located?
On 12 acres the hospital district purchased 8 years ago in the Apple Blossom area, across from Columbia Valley Community Health’s clinic that is currently under construction. Click to view location map & details.
If the bond passes, how soon could the new hospital open?
The goal is 3 years from the date the bond passes.
How would a new hospital benefit our economy?
Like great schools, and fire and police protection, a great hospital is a real draw.
- Expanded services
- Capacity to treat more people locally
- Our hospital is the second largest employer in our area. The new hospital will employ even more people, all with living wage jobs.
- With our new hospital and Columbia Valley Community Health’s new clinic co-located on Apple Blossom Drive, the resulting “medical campus” will be a strong attraction for medical and health-related businesses, light industrial and manufacturing.
Has an area medical needs assessment been done?
Yes. Many experts in various fields have reviewed our situation. Their reports and recommendations are available online at http://www.lakechelancommunityhospital.com/hospital-reports/
What’s wrong with the current hospital?
Here’s a partial list:
- Not enough Emergency Department rooms to meet the demand
- Shared in-patient rooms
- Lack of patient privacy
- Operating rooms are too small for necessary equipment (1/2 the recommended size)
- Patient rooms, hallways and bathrooms are not ADA compliant
- Radiology, lab and pharmacy are cramped and out of space
- Inadequate electrical system to handle current load
- Outdated HVAC for which parts are no longer available
- Inadequate and outdated elevator that constantly needs upkeep and repair
- No secondary fire access
- Inadequate parking
- Difficult to find and access
- No space for a heliport
Why not just remodel the existing hospital? Wouldn’t that be cheaper?
No. In fact, the current estimate for a complete remodel at the current site would cost $56 million*….that’s $12 million more than the proposed new hospital, and a remodel would not solve parking, access, heliport, or future growth needs. *Details available at http://www.lakechelancommunityhospital.com/hospital-reports/
What will the new hospital cost? Who will pay?
The new hospital is estimated at $44.5 million. Our Hospital District will fund $22.5 million, the Hospital Foundation l fund $2 million, and the remaining $20 million will come from the bond initiative.
What will it cost me? How is the assessment calculated?
The levy will only impact people who pay property tax. The assessment is projected to be about $0.38 per $1,000 assessed property value per year until the bond is paid off. It is calculated based on the County Assessor’s valuation of the property, not the real market [resale] value. Here’s a chart:
Is this assessment reasonable?
It’s really a great deal! Remember, this is for your entire household. FYI – here’s what a one-day hospital visit to Wenatchee might cost – not counting treatment!
- 40 miles each way = 80 x $0.535 per mile* = $42.80 car expense (*WA State calculated cost)
- Lunch for two @ $7.00 = $14.00 (assuming a loved one accompanies the patient)
- A minimum of 5 hours of your time (more likely a full day for a hospital visit)
That’s $56.80 for a simple one-day trip….not counting your time away from work. And if you or your loved one needs an ambulance it’ll cost at least $675.
Will all property owners contribute?
Yes. In fact, 55% of the property tax revenue will come from seasonal residents.
What percentage of our property tax dollars go to the hospital now?
Currently just 2.82% of our property taxes go to the hospital, which is just 2.36% of the hospital’s budget. We are in the bottom 1/3rd of Washington hospitals for property tax assessments.
How would that change?
Here’s how the new breakdown would look:
- Schools – 47.13%
- County – 27.72%
- Fire – 10.39%
- Hospital – 5.8% (currently 2.82%)
- Library – 4.4%
- Port of Chelan – 2.5%
Why can’t we just merge with Confluence?
They are not interested in a merger.
What if we just have an emergency department?
Stand alone emergency departments have proven to be financially unsustainable.
What would happen to the old building?
The current hospital will remain in full operation until the new hospital is completed, then the building/land will be sold.
What if the levy doesn’t pass?
Here are some of the impacts of a levy failure
- The Hospital District will still need to invest $14 million into our current, inadequate hospital to bring electrical, HVAC, elevator, and other infrastructure up to code.
- No expansion and few patient improvements will be possible.
- This investment would nearly maximize the Hospital District’s debt capacity without addressing community concerns. “With the debt capacity maxed, and the money spent (wasted) on an old building, a future hospital (say 10 years from now) would have to be funded entirely by the taxpayers. That is why we say “Can’t afford to wait!”
- In other words, NOT a good investment or outcome for our citizens!
When is the vote?
Ballots will be mailed April 5. The final day to vote will be Tuesday, April 25; drop boxes close at 8 pm.
Can I vote if I own property here but live somewhere else?
Absolutely, as long as you are registered to vote in our district.
Do I have to own property to vote?
No. We hope that everyone registered in our district will vote — including students away at college, people who are working or living elsewhere, everyone registered here. Check your registration status at www.myvote.wa.gov
How do I register to vote?
Register online by March 27 or in person by April 17. Visit www.co.chelan.wa.us for full information and instructions.
How can I help encourage people to vote for this important levy?
Thanks for asking! Click on the “How To Help” link for a list of opportunities.