New Tax District Could Create Hope For Hospital

With a looming threat of closure for Anson General Hospital, citizens, businesses and organizations are coming together to do what they can to help. The financial state of Anson General Hospital has been very stressed for many months now. Due to lack of funding from billing issues and state resources that were pending, it has been difficult for the hospital to continue as it once had. In the beginning to help take some of the strain off the finances of the hospital, the decision was made to begin layoffs in different departments. Though the layoffs were hard for the employees that were dismissed, it was needed to try and help the hospital stay in operation.

The hospital asked the city to help them with their finances until they had received funding that was scheduled to come in. The city agreed to help the hospital with four loans to keep the hospital in operation. Over the course of time the hospital has paid back all but one of the loans leaving them with a balance of around $75,000. The city has given the hospital until December to pay off this amount.

Layoffs have also continued, and several employees have chosen to seek other jobs due to the uncertainty of the hospital remaining open. The hospital and city have worked together on trying to find solutions on how to keep the hospital afloat, which is vital to the community as well as the county.

Recently the hospital has decided to put a partial freeze on the retirement plan for the hospital and implement help with its older billing accounts to try and recover funds and eliminate further debt from accruing. The hospital board has also compiled a petition to form a tax district and is in the process of collecting signatures to complete its petition. This petition will help proceed with forming a temporary Hospital District Board designated by the Jones County Commissioner’s Court until a true board can be elected. Should the petition be completed and all go as scheduled, the matter of a hospital tax will be on the ballot in the November 3, 2015 election. These again are decisions that are being done to try and prevent closure.

Businesses in the community, as well as various organizations, have also planned fundraisers in hopes of bringing in funds to help the hospital. Is all that has been done going to help keep the hospital open or is it just a band aid on a gaping wound? That question is difficult to answer with regards to how far the matter may have gotten out of hand. At this point the hospital and city are doing and have done all they can to continue operations at the hospital. The hospital is running in the black and paying its debt off as agreed. While the city has loaned the hospital money, they have also been understanding about the hospital’s financial state and made exceptions on dates for repayment. It will now be up to the citizens of Anson and those in the designated hospital district to decide with their vote how things will play out. Should the tax be implemented, it will be less than 40 cents on every hundred but will voters feel they are over taxed already? The decision to incur the new hospital tax may not be one that tax payers will be pleased with but not passing the tax will affect Anson as well as those in surrounding communities who need medical care. What may seem as an unneeded “new” tax may be something that may save the lives of themselves, family, or friends. What kind of price can be put on that? It is important to realize that yes an additional tax will affect what citizens pay on taxes, but it is very fair to say that what is paid in a district hospital tax may very well save the lives of many. With management of funds, resolutions on finding additional funding that can be allocated for the hospital, resolving billing issues and a proposed tax being invoked, Anson General Hospital may get to remain a vital part of the community. Without those matters being addressed it is quite possible that Anson General Hospital will not be available for those needing medical care.

 

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