Tuesday, February 8, 2011
To continue to upgrade health care options and to meet the increased medical needs of the community, the Skyline Hospital Board of Commissioners has unanimously recommended a "levy lid lift" of the current maintenance & operation (M&O) levy. The measure will go to the voters on the April 26 ballot.
During the latter part of April, voters will be receiving a ballot in the mail asking for support of Skyline's M&O Levy.
Skyline Hospital's M&O levy was last increased 15 years ago (1996) at a beginning rate of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That levy enabled Skyline Hospital to obtain a loan for the 1997 operating room, emergency room, and laboratory additions.
The 2011 levy renewal request provides the yearly cost of acquiring and maintaining an electronic health record (EHR) as mandated by federal legislation.
The EHR will be compatible with all health care providers in the United States so residents of the district will be able to provide their medical histories and diagnoses to any health care practitioner they may need to consult.
Levy funds will also be used to continue to pay the existing 1996 loan, to modernize the physical facilities, to improve diagnostic and patient care capabilities, to provide funds for the operation and development of the district's health care services, and to supplement the portion of the EMS services that are not covered by the EMS levy.
On current tax statements, the assessed total for the hospital is 57 cents. This is the combination of 28.3 cents for the M&O levy and for 28.7 cents for the Emergency Medical Services levy.
The April levy is addressing only the M&O portion of the hospital district tax.
The levy renewal will support the hospital with an M&O property tax of 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, effective in 2012. This would increase the total hospital district tax by 6.7 cents per $1,000. For example, the total increased tax on a $100,000 home would be $6.70 per year.
In whole, a home appraised at $100,000 would pay $63.70 per year for all hospital taxes.
The hospital's board supports the increase because, according to Skyline officials, the electronic health record is a boost to health care because it improves communication between health care providers by: providing the patient with access to his or her records; reducing waste, fraud, and duplication; reducing medical errors; and streamlining the clinical decision-making process.