We pushed this story back to the top because of all the questions surrounding the funding of medical services in central Lincoln County.
More details are found below.
Topping the list of major issues on the May 19th ballot is a $57 million dollar complete replacement of the Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport. If voters approve the tax increase, the 125,000 square foot redo would have it’s ribbon cutting in the summer of 2017.
While building the new hospital and renovating a few buildings that will survive the transition, hospital intake and clinic services will remain available throughout the “year-plus” construction period while some other medical services will be in transition between old buildings and their new ones.
Pacific Communities Hospital Chief Executive Officer David Bieglow said everything will be done to make the new hospital’s construction as smooth as is humanly possible. He said when completed, again, in the summer of 2017, hospital rooms will be 20% larger, imaging services will be upgraded along with nuclear medicine. Internal medicine, cardiology, cancer treatments, orthopaedics and other high demand services will be much easier to administer.
There is also a slight urgency to rebuild Samaritan’s PCH due to the increasing likelihood of a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake. Current PCH facilities are inside buildings that were built 60 years ago and would likely fare rather poorly in a violent earthquake. North Lincoln Hospital in Lincoln City is also doing some evaluating of their facilities as well and are coming to a similar conclusion – they need new facilities.
As for the funding issue on the May 19th ballot the hospital district is asking voters from Gleneden Beach to Yachats (but not Toledo) whether they would agree to see their property taxes rise 98-cents a thousand of assessed valuation. That’s the tax rate they need for the $57 million dollar redo of the Pacific Communities Hospital. The tax “override” would amount to a $7.50 a month increase in property taxes for a $100,000 dollar home, a $15 a month increase for a $200,000 home and $23 a month increase in property taxes for a $300,000 home.
Pacific Communities Hospital is a non-profit corporation operating under a Lincoln County voter-elected board of directors called the Pacific Communities Hospital District Board. It operates much like a local fire district, and has been providing revenues for Pacific Communities Hospital for decades. The voter-elected board levies a general property tax on all property owners within the district – again – Gleneden to Yachats, but not Toledo. The tax rate is currently 36-cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. Their levy is expected to produce roughly $3.36 million in the current fiscal year.
Hospital districts are usually set up in typically economically depressed or otherwise low income areas where property taxes are levied so the area can afford a hospital so that those with serious health care issues, victims of traumatic accidents, etc, don’t have to endure being driven 60 miles to the nearest hospital. The same situation prevails in Lincoln City, with the North Lincoln Hospital District. It too has an elected board of directors and levies a property tax in their district (north county) of 51-cents per thousand, raising roughly $2.5 million to help run North Lincoln Hospital.
Much more information is expected to come out shortly from Samaritan about this massive rebuild of medical services here on the coast.