Rural hospitals face unique challenges. Now, in the midst of a healthcare crisis, our hospital and the people who work in it are more vulnerable than ever. We must continue taxpayer funding to support Holy Cross, and I support the decision to place continuation of the mill levy on the ballot in November of this year.
However, we also need to find ways we can inject greater stability into Holy Cross’s financial situation, so that we can get out of the cycle of urgently debating the same tax-dependent choices every few years. Funding via gross receipts tax (GRT) places a greater burden on the most economically vulnerable in the community and – as we’re currently seeing in our crisis-stricken economy – is not a reliable and steady source of revenue. Our hospital deserves better; our hospital deserves greater stability so they can effectively plan.
As your Commissioner, I would work to find ways to increase hospital income and reduce the need for taxpayer subsidies. I would support gaining greater transparency and understanding of the needs through a detailed business plan and an independent assessment of community needs. I would support considering a restructuring of the hospital lease with the County to potentially shift some fiscal responsibilities and also to request representation on the hospital board. The goal should be to give the County greater oversight over the use of taxpayer dollars it allocates.
The hospital should prosper, not just survive. And the people who work there should be heard and taken care of – treated fairly in terms of salary, career opportunities, and on-the-job protections. They are putting their lives on the line right now. We should all work together so that everyone is in a better position. Let’s collaborate for the benefit of all – hospital administration and staff, all of us patients and prospective patients, and local government.