[1/26/17] Lake Chelan Community Hospital Approves Bond To Be Placed On April Ballot

Posted in Feature, Health

Chelan, Washington – At the Jan. 24, 2017 meeting of the Governing Board, Chelan County Public Hospital District No. 2 Commissioners passed a resolution to bring before voters a proposal to issue general obligation bonds in the principal amount of no more than $20 million to fund a portion of the cost to construct a new hospital facility with an estimated project budget of $44 million. The proposition will be placed on the upcoming April 25, 2017 election. If approved by voters, the bonds to help fund the construction of a replacement hospital would be paid from annual property tax levies collected within the hospital’s district.

Board members based their decision on community input and several external reports and studies. A series of community focus groups regarding local healthcare were held in August 2016, followed by two community forums about facility needs. About 130 people attended the forums, and the wide majority of attendees voiced support for a new hospital at the Apple Blossom Center, near Wal-Mart along U.S. Highway 97A, across from the new Columbia Valley Community Health medical clinic, now under construction.

The Board also carefully considered results of a master planning project from June 2016, a comparative analysis of facility costs and a plan of finance modeling from November. In addition, Commissioners listened to input from 15 members of the medical staff at a special board meeting held in September. All reports, minutes and summaries of the community forums and focus groups are available at LakeChelanHospital.com under facility reports. A video of the Chelan community forum is also posted.

The current hospital facility was built in 1972. Its aging infrastructure and limited space impacts operations as well as the organization’s ability to meet needs such as patient privacy, volume demands, growth of core health services and physician recruitment, said Kevin Abel, Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics CEO.

The approved levy will only impact people who pay property tax. The assessment is projected to be $ 0.38 per $1,000 assessed property value per year. It is calculated based on the County Assessor’s valuation of the property. The cost for a $250,000 home would be $95 a year.

The new hospital facility would be a one-story building with private in-patient rooms and enlarged surgical, obstetric and emergency centers to accommodate increasing patient numbers. The hospital already owns the 12-acre Apple Blossom site.