Officials from the Pacific Communities Health District and Samaritan Health Services told Lincoln County Commissioners this week that it’s critical that the voters vote yes on a new $57 million dollar hospital and doctors office complex. It’s on the ballot May 19th.
The two groups both agreed that the current hospital is inadequate for what the community needs and deserves. They pointed out the current hospital is over 50 years old, and doesn’t lend itself to all the new technologies or modern work flow spaces.
They said a new hospital will prompt upgrades in nuclear medicine, cardiology, ortho surgery and cancer detection. The new hospital would also prompt Samaritan Health Services to install somewhere around $10 million dollars in new medical equipment. There will also be a new doctors’ office complex so that Newport area residents who need medical attention can go pretty much to one location and get the full range of those services. And having new, bright and shiny offices, it will attract top notch doctors and medical technicians to work and live here on the coast. They estimated 50 new jobs would be created if the new hospital is approved by the voters May 19th – employment levels rising from the current 450 to something just over 500. All of them very good paying jobs.
They also defended their decision to move on a ballot question so quickly. They pointed out that interest rates on loans and bonds are currently very low, so the community would save a large amount of money in total financing costs.
And a final pitch on the new hospital came from a growing awareness that the coast is in the cross-hairs of a large earthquake that could strike at any time. Hospital District and Samaritan Health officials both agreed that the current hospital would likely not survive the earthquake, thereby rendering the facility unable to meet the local medical needs of a population needing intense acute care. They argue that a hospital built to modern day earthquake standards would be much better able to provide high level medical care for the first weeks after the quake and probable tsunami.
The county commissioners listened intently and offered their congratulations to Health District and Samaritan officials on what appears to be a solid offer to the voters of Lincoln County – more medical services based in Newport (fewer trips to the valley), higher tech equipment, a re-invigorated medical staff, more jobs and the ability to combine a higher level of awareness on staying healthy, but when necessary, providing higher levels of medical expertise when local residents need it.
As for the average homeowner tax cost for the $57 million dollar project, if you own a $150,000 home, your property tax bill would go up $12.50 a month. If you own a $250,000 home, your taxes would rise right around $25 a month. If you own a $350,000 home, your average monthly property taxes would rise around $35 a month.
May 19th at 8pm is the deadline to get your ballot turned in to the courthouse. It’s ballot measure 21-163.