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Chelan to host Public Forum on New Hospital Initiative on March 30

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Artist rendering of the main entrance of the proposed new Lake Chelan Community Hospital. (Courtesy of LCCH)

Proponents and opponents to present their views to the community

Chelan, WA – A Community Forum will be held at the Chelan High School Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Thursday, March 30, 2017, from 5:30 – 7 p.m. to give Lake Chelan Hospital District voters an opportunity to be fully informed prior to the April 25, 2017, vote on the bond for a new hospital in Chelan.

The forum will be moderated and allow both sides to present their information and their vision for the future of healthcare in the Lake Chelan Valley. The team is still working on selecting a moderator who is approved by both sets of presenters.

The event will streamed LIVE on GoLakeChelan.tv!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Chelan High School (PAC)

215 West Webster Ave., Chelan, WA

The deadline to register to vote on the Lake Chelan Community Hospital Bond is Monday, March 27, 2017. Residents who want a chance to weigh in and vote must be registered. Online registration at the Chelan County auditor’s website is www.co.chelan.wa.us/elections or go directly to this link.

In order for the Hospital Bond to pass in the April 25 Special Election, a 60% approval vote is needed. 

Current Lake Chelan Community Hospital. (Photo by GoLakeChelan.com)

“We’ve really been looking forward to this for a quite a while,” says Dr. Ty Witt, spokesman for Citizens for a New Hospital Now campaign. “We really want the community to hear all the facts and then be able to make the best informed decision for themselves, their families, and the community.” 

For more information, visit the websites of the two opposing groups at: www.chelanhospitalfacts.com and www.newhospitalnow.com.

(By Christine Eagar)




28 Comments on Chelan to host Public Forum on New Hospital Initiative on March 30

  1. Another pep rally for the real estate land speculators and hospital employees, when will they accept the vote of the people, three times they have put out this new hospital bond and failed. If they would just put their money into maintaining and upgrading the present hospital instead of buying land and spending on expensive campaigns, the present hospital would be much better off. One quick look at the East Side hospitals in deep financial trouble in Grand Coulee, Quincy, and Kennewick will show that they have something in common with this building of a new hospital with long term debt. The generous subsidy of the local community has kept LCCH solvent and now the Hospital Board wants to risk this solvency with a massive debt. It just doesn’t make sense in this time of turmoil in the health care industry to take this enormous risk with the local hospitals future. VOTE NO, Maintain it Don’t Build New

    • Bill- Again you try to degrade the hard working people of the hospital, whose only job and only concern is quality healthcare for the community.
      The forum is a free exchange of ideas for both sides to actually present at the same time and be able to defend their ideas and assumptions. We are actually encouraging people to go and get questions answered. No matter what your opinion on the vote is.
      If you take a quick look at the East side hospitals you continually mention, you will find out there are major differences between them and LCCH. Trios in Kennewick is a much larger, not a critical access hospital, so it does not have the advantage of Medicare reimbursement. They also took on the entire debt themselves instead of being able to partner with the community. Same thing with Grand Coulee, they do not have the tax base we do to be able to partner with the community, so they decided to take on the entire debt themselves. And, no disrespect to Grand Coulee and Quincy, besides their size, what exactly do those towns and Chelan have in common? Our town is growing and theirs are not. The financial experts continually state that LCCH can support the amount of debt they will take on with minimal risk. In fact, the debt payment on a new facility will be less than the debt payment LCCH is paying now.
      The hospital has not, and cannot put any money into the campaign. It is not legal. So to make that charge is saying that LCCH is breaking the law. All the money spent is from private citizens who care about their community.
      The yes people want patient comfort, health, privacy and dignity. The no people want LED lights, double paned windows and parking garages.
      Go to the forum! Get your questions answered! Vote yes!

  2. It is impossible to “force” the hospital board to change direction and upgrade and properly maintain their present concrete and steel hospital. They are determined to build a mini Mall type hospital at the dump, and have already indebted themselves to purchase the land. Three times the voters have tried to redirect them to maintain and upgrade the present building and it will require a really significant loss of the present ballot to change their minds. One glimmer of hope this time is that the
    most educated member of the Board voted NO. This is the first time the Board has not voted unanimously to build the Toyota Town Hospital and shows a significant crack in their grandiose plan. With even Governor Inslee coming out with warnings of about the financial viability of rural hospitals last week, you would think that the Hospital Board would reconsider this extremely risky debt, and maybe they will if the voters for the Fourth time turn down this bond ballot. VOTE NO, lets not risk what we have, maintain it don’t build new

    • Bill- again you continue to pound the table with misinformation. First of all, the concrete and steel structure is what makes this building (built in 1971 and added on to in 1994) unable to be inexpensively upgraded to the standards of 2017 medicine and beyond. The building has been maintained very well, but the problems are shared rooms and lack of space. All the maintenance in the world cannot fix that fact.
      Secondly, the board member that you keep mentioning, if you would have heard her presentation at the Manson Kiwanis last week showed that she has no understanding of the finances, has no alternative to any plan, and has said “we should not put another cent into the current facility”. One would think if she doesn’t want to spend on the old facility she would at least have some sort of alternative, which she has none.
      Lastly, Governor Inslee was concerned about what would happen to some rural hospitals that relied heavily on Medicaid if the ACA was dismantled. Not sure if you heard the news, but that isn’t happening any time soon. And, I know if you read other replies, that you also know that LCCH doesn’t rely on Medicaid for reimbursement that amounts to any significance. If anyone wants to get more information that has been studied and is done by professionals, go to http://www.newhospitalnow.com or go to http://www.chelanhospitaltruths.com. Vote yes to modernize healthcare in Chelan!

      • brian, as a highly paid employee of the hospital and a newcomer to the valley it may be worth your time to get a second opinion regarding this idea of building a new hospital instead of modernizing what we have. Consultants invariably come to the conclusion desired by whomever is paying the bill for the consultation, if you have experience with hospitals you certainly are aware of that fact. There are certainly contravening opinions regarding the advantage of staying out of debt and modernizing the present structure, and Commissioner Murphy is aware of them. Her resume with regard to hospital finance is impeccable and she has voted NO with regard to this high risk building of a shiny new mini mall type hospital. You are certainly not an expert in this field, and thus should be asking questions, as the community has for the last six years, culminating in three failed bond attempts. Governor Inslee was talking about exactly this type of wild investment in small rural hospitals when he cautioned last week. “Any time soon”, we are talking about a high risk loan for “30” years, that depends on Obamacare, that even the proponents say is going broke. A quick look at local East Side Hospitals in the State of Washington, shows that three over extended and are in big financial trouble, they are Quincy, Kennewick, and Grand Coulee, they are nearby and similar. Without the generous taxpayer subsidy LCCH would already be in financial trouble, and it is time for them to live within their means and modernize their present structure and pay off their existing debt, rather than getting further into unsupportable debt. VOTE NO, lets take care of what we have.

        • Bill- I see that you have zero facts on your side so now you are resorting to shaming. Having professed to only being here 20 years some longer time residents would consider you a newcomer. Just because you have been here longer doesn’t mean you care about the valley more than me.
          I have experience with hospitals for 20+ years. I also have experience with the consultants that LCCH hired and I can personally tell you they do not give you the answers they want. They did not give the answers to a hospital in Minnesota that they wanted, they said they cannot afford an new hospital and would not recommend moving forward. Same company (Wipfli).
          I have never said that I was an expert in hospital construction or finance, however, being a physician for 23 years I am an expert in standard of care and I do rely on experts in construction and finance with actual experience to get my information.
          The commissioners of which you speak has repeatedly stated to not put anymore money into this current facility. So what is her alternative plan? She has never put one forward. And just writing that she is aware of them is just a shell game on your part, there is no inexpensive alternative plan. If there was, it would be out there and it would have a price tag on it.
          LCCH does an excellent job living within their means. The new payment will be less than the debt payment now. Do not fall for the confusion that the no voters are trying to spread. Go to http://www.newhospitalnow.com for the truth! Vote yes!

          • The facts are clearly stated on http://www.ChelanHospitalFacts.com which you can also find on the large signs downtown, they have been stated numerous times by Capt. Sherer in public meetings and have been the basis for three failed bond attempts. The Hospital Board bought the land out at the dump, “after” they lost the first bond, which is similar to Kennewick and Coulee’s attempt to go it alone after they lost a bond attempt, the similarities are striking, and just because proponents will not look, does not mean these facts are not entirely relevant. You have yet to answer just when the “New Hospital” would be open for business “If” the bond were to pass and they were able to secure a federal loan? Another question, how come LCCH has 250 employees for a 25 bed hospital, 10 to 1 ratio, and Confluence in Wenatchee has 600 employees for a 198 bed hospital, a 3 to 1 ratio, this is purely an efficiency question? We could go into the wages of the top four administrators, but it all seems to be proof that Dr. Tagges assertions of top heavy mismanagement have substance. LCCH stays solvent with a generous subsidy from the community, why haven’t they been upgrading their facility all along as most other hospitals do, surely you are aware that there are many hospitals built long before 1968 that are still using the original building. Take some time with an open mind and check out http://www.ChelanHospitalFacts.com and you may just change your mind and see that this is no time to put the present hospital into deep unsupportable debt. VOTE NO, Let’s keep the hospital we have out of Massive debt.

          • Well stated Brian. this is a rebuttle to Bill.
            Framing this as a maintenance and financial mismanagement issue is a false narrative. The facility has been maintained. This is about a lack of adequate space in the current structure. The current location does not allow an expansion of the facility without high costs and disruption of care. If you were to add, say ten to twenty thousand square feet of additional space on to the current facility, it would remove quite a bit of parking. In order to accommodate the patients and staff, you would have to build a parking structure somewhere. That is prohibitively expensive. A new location is the only way to build a facility that is up to date and has all the space requirements of a modern hospital.
            The new hospital would open in 2020. That information is available on http://newhospitalnow.com

  3. I think you would get many more people in your “forum” if those who will benefit financially from this expenditure “sat it out”. That includes the hospital employees and real estate land speculators, which is the base from which this biyearly bond issue comes from. “Right”? the money for this new hospital campaign doesn’t come directly from tax revenue, but certainly it is money that would be spent on the hospital if it had not been redirected. A full time professional public relations person at LCCH has been pushing this as have all of the full time highly paid administrators, on company time certainly, c’mon this is a small town! If you want to see the other side of the coin, take a look at what Brewster Hospital has done to keep solvent, I am sure Dr. Tagge would be willing to update you on their successful effort to get rid of top heavy overpaid management. You can’t get much closer than Brewster, it isn’t even a toll call! As a newcomer to the valley you may feel that we have an unlimited tax base with the valuable land on the lake, but there is a limit, and there are a lot of other projects from parks to schools where that money can be spent, that will benefit the community more than a shiny new hospital at the dump. Specially when we have a terrific concrete and steel building that just needs modernizing and upgrade. Just for the record, If this bond were to pass, and the federal government loans the additional 25 million, How long til this new hospital would be operational? There are a number of big “If’s” in that future for sure, but you must have a rough idea. Most of us are satisfied to go to LCCH for emergencies and then elsewhere for elective care, and that is with the present hospital structure, and a shiny new hospital with the same number of beds and staff won’t change that, but it will put the community into massive long term debt. Debt that will increase the cost of living in the Valley, as every business and rental will have to increase to cover the property tax levy, which of course hurts those on fixed income and poor the most. Have some compassion for those who are not making big wages, Chelan is already an expensive place to live, VOTE NO, Lets take care of what we have and save our taxes for projects more worthy

    • Bill- again, you are trying to mislead people by writing that the employees will gain financially from the new facility. They will not. They do, however, have expertise in healthcare and exactly what the deficiencies of the hospital are.
      You keep mentioning Gordon Tagge. He wrote himself that he voted for the hospital when he worked here, now he is in a competing hospital so he wants to vote now. His motives are transparent. It has nothing to do with Administration or management size.
      You state yourself that you go elsewhere for your healthcare. So why would you be so against something that is not going to affect your daily life? And why would you punish the people who actually use the facility? You have zero evidence that this will increase cost of living in the valley.
      And the hospital has not spent a cent on the campaign. And continually writing that is accusing LCCH of breaking the law.
      Vote yes for a new hospital to be operational in 2010!!!

  4. Bill- I mistyped above. The new era in Chelan medicine will begin in 2020! There will be private rooms, more space in the operating rooms, larger OB suites for a better patient and family experience when delivering a child, better infection control, and a building that will be designed by architects that will actually have a vision for the future of medicine and a building that will have the flexibility to accommodate those needs! Thanks for asking! It is exciting!
    There are hospitals that use portions of their buildings built before 1968, but those parts are not used for patient care. Shared rooms are a thing of the past. The current facility cannot be uprgraded inexpensively to accommodate that standard. $12 million more to get the same square footage, patient privacy, OB space, OR space at the current site than building new.
    You really need to go to Mike Sherer’s presentation. When people are actually allowed to ask questions his assumptions and numbers are completely dismantled.
    Gordon Tagge voted yes twice when he was employed by LCCH. Now that his practice is competing with the excellent general surgeon in Chelan, he votes no, because a new hospital will hurt his practice. Not hard to see through his motives. It is sad that he now tries to disparage the same facility that supported him for 14 years.
    I would finally encourage people to check out Bill’s website! Then, immediately go to http://www.chelanhospitaltruths.com for the actual information.
    Do not fall for the shell game of misinformation and allegations that the no voters are trying to trick you with. Go to the forum where you can hear both sides on the same stage and make your choice! We feel confident that you will vote yes for better quality healthcare in Chelan now and generations to come!

    • Brian, the voter/taxpayers of Chelan, Manson, and Stehekin will see right through your pitch for a shiny new Toyota Town Hospital. They will see that risking their operational hospital on a high debt is certainly not a viable alternative to modernizing and maintaining the present structure. An aerial view of the present hospital will see that there is nothing but open land behind the hospital, and that it was designed to add another story, the third floor was added in 1994 and the hospital was brought up to code at that time, but these are all facts well known to the long term residents of the city. The present hospital sits overlooking the city and lake close to the center of population with a classic design and is built with concrete and steel, the hospital that you envision sits on an old apple orchard, outside the city core, with a view of the dump and Walmart. i think we can do better for the people of Chelan by keeping what we have, certainly with upgrades and proper maintenance, but also without the high risk borrowing that has undermined other local hospitals, in Quincy, Kennewick, and Coulee. Disparaging Dr. Tagge, who is a taxpaying resident of Chelan, with intimate knowledge of the inner workings of LCCH, puts your entire premise in question. Three times the residents of the hospital district have tried to redirect this board, each time the bond has failed, and hopefully they will get the message when it fails again. VOTE NO, take care of what we have, maintain it don’t replace it.

      • Bill- The concrete and steel building was brought up to code in 1994, 23 years ago. Codes change. It is not up to standards now by any means. And it will cost $14 million to do so. Medicine has changed immensely in that time. And the concrete and steel building and the layout designed in 1994 makes the radio reception spotty at best inside the Emergency Room so it is difficult for us to hear when there is a medical or trauma alert. Nor does the concrete and steel building allow for efficient installation of the technology that today’s medicine requires.
        An aerial view of the hospital does show land behind the hospital, but standing on the ground, you notice that land is a steep hill that when tested is granite. Even your architect though it was cost prohibitive to build there. It will cost $56 million to upgrade the hospital in the current facility (not to mention disrupting patient care) and $44.5 million to build new with no disruption of patient care.
        The new hospital will be much easier to get to and if you time it from downtown takes the exact same time to get to as the current location and you don’t have to worry about going through residential areas and up steep hills in winter.
        I am not disparaging Gordon Tagge, just questioning his motives for now voting no when he was one of the leaders of the yes campaign the last vote. Just interesting that now that he works in a competing hospital and he now votes no. And his entire basis is the ACA upheaval and that is now off the table, and have little to do with the finances of LCCH. He is the one who put himself out there with a letter to the editor.
        Doing maintenance on what we have will not advance medicine in the valley. What you are proposing is denying the citizens of the valley and patients at the hospital a 21st century OB, inpatient or surgery experience or care. The hospital can afford this and the payment on the new debt will actually be less per year than the hospital is paying on the current debt. So you could say it is actually riskier to do nothing! That is just one of the things that makes Chelan different than Quincy, Kennewick or Grand Coulee.
        I encourage everyone to go to the forum and listen to the exchange of ideas and facts. Then decide, do you want a building only capable of1971 medicine or a building built for 21st century medicine and beyond! Vote yes!

        • Brian, well the architects and builders I have talked to say differently, they have told us that it will cost much less to upgrade our present facility. I know these folks personally so it is not some out of town consultant but people who live and work here in the valley. Building a new hospital a the dump is a very risky proposition and will mean that other projects, much more worthwhile to the community from schools, to parks will have to languish because there is only so much money. LCCH is well subsidized by the taxpayers already and they should have been putting money some of that subsidy into upgrade of their present facility instead of beating the taxpayers up three times for their bond. If you figure in the cost of borrowing for the next 30 years, you will see that it will be taking over 100 million out of this town for a new hospital that will be ready for replacement on the day that the last payment is made. Certainly a wood and metal mini-mall construction will not last near as long as concrete and steel. The land behind the hospital is eminently build able and that was the original plan, we don’t need to go into massive debt and endanger our hospital. All you have to do is look at the local hospitals that are in trouble to hear the same refrains from the supporting doctors when they went into unsupportable debt. Those folks can just get up an leave for new jobs, but the taxpayers who live here are on the hook for their grandiose plans. VOTE NO, let’s remodel and improve what we have and stay out of massive debt

          • Bill- since your architects and builders never come up with any numbers, we have to go with the numbers from the consultants that specialize in hospital renovation and building, the Healthcare Collaborative Group. Let’s go with your assumption that we can just do nothing but get the hospital up to 2017 code. Soon the state of Washington will not give LCCH any more waivers for code violations. That will add $14 million to the current debt with no visual differences in the concrete and steel building. The rooms will not be private, there will be no recovery area for surgery patients, the OB rooms will still be woefully inadequate, and there still would not be any flexibility to upgrade in the future because the building is concrete and steel. Plus, that would use up the debt capacity of the hospital, making it unable to do any upgrades to keep up with medicine in the foreseeable future. It would also increase the debt payment greatly. If you want us to actually turn into Quincy, Grand Coulee or Kennewick and cripple healthcare in Chelan, you would have your wish.
            On the contrary. The hospital takes a $22 million loan for a new hospital. The reimbursement from Medicare structure actually makes the payment on the entire debt less than we pay now. The numbers do not lie. It is financially riskier to do nothing. Plus, patients would have private rooms on both the Medical/Surgical unit and Sanctuary (decreasing infection risk and adding to patient privacy and comfort), the OB rooms will be larger so mothers and families will have a more gratifying experience, the ER will have more rooms to efficiently treat patients in a timely manner, there will be more space in the operating rooms so our excellent surgeons can use the latest in technology, the recovery room will be able to take care of those patients and all other ancillary services will have more space for the equipment today’s medicine requires.
            We all believe that schools and parks are important to the community but I would argue that healthcare is an important asset as well. it is part of the infrastructure of a community, especially one that is growing like ours is!
            I don’t know where you come up with the $100 million dollar number. Before you wrote $159 million, now $100 million. The taxpayer portion is only $20 million. There is no math in the world that can turn that number into $100 million.
            Lastly, the architects and builders of the new facility will have to build the building up to Washington State hospital codes, not mini mall codes. It will be built to actually have flexibility for future medicine and be centered around patient care and comfort, not concrete and steel.
            We all invite everyone to go to the forum. Listen to the presentations. Ask questions. We feel that you will walk away confident in the future of LCCH and vote yes!

          • Bill – your local architects and builders? Care to name them and their credentials – so we can compare their expertise side by side with the specialized hospital architects, accountants, consultants, designers and builders that have been involved in the planning process for the proposed project that are ACTUAL experts. Please don’t trot out that trope that those who advised the board only gave them the info they wanted to hear – that is just nonsense and you know it. Any professional who works in any of these fields is not going to jeopardize their credibility and reputation by providing bad advice. Now, on the other hand you expect me to believe that a self-described farmer is who I should be listening too when it comes to planning for the needs of a hospital? The only plan I’ve heard discussed by farmer/sub commander Mike Scherer was proposal for which he could provide no costs figures, which included purchasing or condemning by eminent domain 11 affordable housing units in the neighborhood and blasting and moving massive amounts of dirt and rock just to create a buildable space?! That’s millions of dollars, wasted – millions of dollars!!! Are you kidding me? And after spending that amount of money nothing has been achieved to remedy the glaring deficiencies of the hospital building. Imagine the PR nightmare of tossing 11 families out of their homes. Any builder-contractor worth their salt would know that building on a flat piece of ground with easy access and space for construction equipment and materials would be much more desirable. Not to mention the nightmare of trying to treat patients in the facility with all that digging/blasting going on at the same time. And where would patients, staff, vendors and visitors access the facility and park during such a colossally wasteful undertaking. I recognize that you are much enamored with that steel/concrete building – but I’m getting very very vexed that those who designed and built this concrete box on the hillside gave no thought to ease of remodeling when they chose the materials or potential for growth on a steep rocky slope surrounded by homes. I get that back then the land was free – I know the family that donated it, but like they say – there is no such thing as a free lunch. That decision making in the past has created the situation that the community finds itself in today. The location offers no economical flexibility to expand without great expense and still doesn’t solve the problem of a steep hill in the winter. The hospital wisely invested in a flat piece of land, with good access, adequate parking, space for a heliport (you’ll love that) and room to grow for future healthcare needs that we can’t imagine today. But I’m supposed to believe your “unnamed” experts, and a spokesman whom I’ve heard speak twice now, who part way through his first presentation indicated that he looked at the financials and admitted they were “confusing” – so he skimmed right over that bit. Then in his 2nd presentation he gets the term of the bond wrong (it’s 30 years – not 35) and brandishes a bag of cheerios to illustrate depreciation, an in which he frankly failed to describe the financial plan with any accuracy. Maybe he could use Fruit-Loops next time. He showed some scary charts that also misrepresented and distorted the financial picture of both the hospital and the financing of the project. Although he is using information he states he got from the hospital records – he certainly shows no aptitude to interpreting what he found. In other words all of you, and your vaunted “experts” are suffering from confirmation bias – looking for conclusions to support your anti-bond stance, much to the detriment of the community. You are maligning and slandering hospital staff and supporters. Engaging in outrage industry rhetoric, as you do, brings heat but no light to this very important decision for the community. Supporting the hospital with a yes vote will not, as you state, put other community projects at risk, like schools and parks. Degrading and disabling one of the economic drivers in the community most certainly will over time. The risk is greater to the community by turning down the project than supporting it. It’s a community hospital – it does need the community to support a big project like – it’s the responsible choice to make. And tell your supporters to stop stealing the pro-hospital signs – that’s just low.

      • Mr Worth, these are all arguments you have made on the Citizens for a New Hospital Now – Lake Chelan Facebook page and they have been countered rationally, with real figures presented by credible sources.
        The facility is well cared for but needs to be replaced in a location that’s more accessible all year around. We need to move away from semi-private rooms to provide the privacy and decency patients and their families need and deserve during their stay while also addressing the risk of spreading infections. We need OB rooms that are large enough so that mom doesn’t feel like she has to choose between having her family or medical staff near her. The OR department faces all the sames obstacles… This has all been brought up on the Facebook page. Long story short, Lake Chelan Valley needs a new, modern facility, not a working museum. Vote Yes! Our families and neighbors are worth it!!

    • First Let me assure you that those of us opposed to the hospital bond are not messing with your signs, the people opposed to this risky bond are not near as frantic as the hospital employees and see this problem purely in a financial sense. If you would just sit down and look at the true numbers and then take note of the 12 out of 39 CAH hospitals that are in such bad financial shape that the State Flex program is trying a way to keep their doors open. And Governor Inslee has put out a warning to all Rural Hospitals of their financial insecurity. Ignoring the disasters in Kennewick and Coulee City with shiny new hospitals that mirror the plans here in Chelan. I am surprised that people with education cannot read a balance sheet and see that LCCH is absolutely certain to fail if they build this Toyota Town Hospital. Take the emotion out of it, and look at the numbers, and think of the times we are living through, nobody thoughtful would put this hospital district in this massive debt, and we many of us are trying to warn the people of Chelan of the danger. It is all in the numbers, and they are very clear to anyone who has ever run a business. And as for the total cost of a 45 million dollar bond over 30 years at 3%. I am certain that educated people with access to a computer can give the total cost to the valley, which is $172,400,000, look it up. For the record, we have also lost a number of the small lawn signs and I am not blaming anyone. VOTE NO, the community is much better off maintaining and updating what we have.

      • Bill- I would like to really know, what is it? $172 million? $150 million? $100 million? And I would invite you to go on http://www.mortgagecalculator.org and plug in $45 million and see what to total payment would be. Not sure where you came up with the extra $100 million. Did you get your loan from Vinnie down in Las Vegas? And that isn’t even what the bond is for. It is for $20 million.
        I have kept emotion out of this, but I continue to be astonished at the completely fabricated “facts” and “calculations” that the no voters come up with. We all can read a balance sheet and a $500k profit I 2016 is pretty good! We also understand Medicare and Medicare reimbursement much better than Mike Sherer, you and your most educated hospital commissioner, and apparently there is also a lack of understanding when a hospital’s fiscal year ends.
        It has already been explained and why in a post below why it is more risky financially to the hospital to do nothing.
        It really comes down to the yes voters care about healthcare for the valley and the no voters for one reason or another do not.
        People need to educate themselves! Do not listen to people who do not understand Medicare finances, and cannot keep facts and figures straight from post to post! Go to the forum and listen to both sides! We feel confident you will like what you hear and be confident in a yes vote!

      • Bill – More “Outrage Industry” nonsense. BTW – it’s Coulee Dam, not Coulee City. You cite Coulee Dam and Kennewick as if they were comparable to LCCH, but they are not. First Kennewi – not a CAH hospital and borrowed beyond their debt capacity. But you know this and just still repeat the same old tired lies ad nauseum. Coulee Dam – a CAH, but did not have support from the community in the form of a bond because they have no tax base – therefore borrowed beyond their debt capacity. LCCH is not following that particular pathway because we know it just isn’t good for the organization or the community. LCCH can tick along just fine with minimal support from the community – but when it comes to a capital project, like a new facility, then yes, the community needs to help with funding to preserve the quality of health care in the valley. Your doomsaying and other comparisons are equally misleading and don’t reflect the reality of the situation. That is just sad. Did you know, that in fact, with the combination of the USDA loan and the community bond that LCCH’s yearly debt payment will actually be less due to the advantages of the CAH funding & reimbursement program which is designed to help just our sort of hospital. You are actively seeking to get the community to vote against their best interest by use of lies, misinformation, hyperbole, and scaremongering. How about you put your money where your mouth is and come to the side by side presentations tomorrow, March 30, at the Chelan High School PAC at 5:30-7PM – even you might find the PRO arguments compelling, although the cognitive dissonance may be unbearable. It’s kind of a no-brainer once you see the plan and advantages to the community. I’ll make a point of noticing if you actually show up.

        You keep talking about your local “experts”. How am I or anyone in the community supposed to evaluate their credentials and knowledge about hospital design, building and financing if they are so mysteriously incognito? I’ve seen no credible plans, I’ve heard no actual figures. I have seen a guy, who claims to be a farmer, waving around a bag of Cheerios talking about throwing 11 families out of their houses. Is this your expert? Or a PUD commissioner misusing her office, nattering on about LED lights and her husband talking about how he can take that 13% grade road and reduce it to a 10% grade as if those measures are going to solve the issues of private rooms, added space for the OR, ancillary services, and ER. Silly me – all that was ever needed to ensure viable healthcare infrastructure for years to come are a few LED lights!!! Are these your experts? Or the no votingcommissioner whom you praise, who just happens to married to one of the primary naysayers from the last election, a disgruntled former architectural consultant for LCCH with no particular expertise in hospital, perhaps bearing a grudge? More experts? The same dissenting commissioner who was discovered sending clandestinely a newsletter to her “secret special friends” in the community directly undermining the other LCCH commissioners and LCCH itself. That kind of expert? The same commissioner who publicly spoke out against the hospital project after assuring the other board members she would not? Not only was she speaking out against the project – she was providing incorrect information and doesn’t even seem to grasp the details. Even she believes that doing anything with that concrete box is a total waste of money. So many experts.

        If you cared so much about the less affluent members of the community – you would recognize that having to get care outside of the community is costly. It takes a quarter tank of fuel to drive to Wenatchee and back – that is probably more money than most citizens will pay per month in increased taxes. Think of the mom in labor having to drive to Wenatchee – it’s an hour drive to Confluence, in the winter it is longer. An ambulance ride will cost more than the small monthly increase in taxes to support a functional hospital right in the community. My taxes will increase about $7.00 a month. That seems like pretty cheap insurance to have excellent healthcare close to home. That is a wise investment in my community and I’m more than willing to pay my share. LCCH has not failed this community in the 69 years it has existed. Any project has risk vs benefit, thus the careful planning to assure the most favorable outcome. The VOTE YES plan will envigorate and keep healthcare viable by relocating to a place that can grow and expand as the community does. The opponent’s plan stifles growth and will diminish our local access to healthcare by slow erosion of services and waste of public resources spending millions on a building that is no longer functional to serve its purpose without any improvements in the patient care or caregiver infrastructure. Good stewards don’t throw good money after bad. Your overwrought claims of failure are just that and don’t stand up under careful consideration and scrutiny. Remember: Thurs, March 30; Chelan High School PAC to learn the pros and cons.

        • First lets agree on one thing, Debt is bad. If you have to go into debt it means that you are putting off paying for something because you don’t have enough saved to pay for it. Unsupportable Debt is terrible, because you risk everything. LCCH wants to build a brand new shiny hospital and go into deep debt to pay for it, they have for many years put off needed maintenance, repair and upgrades of their present structure because they wanted a shiny new hospital. (Annual maintenance of a hospital should be 2% of the value of the building as we all know is standard in the industry, and LCCH has invested a fraction of that for the last 10 years.) I have repeatedly named three local hospitals that have gone into debt and are on the verge of bankruptcy, Coulee Dam, Quincy, and Kennewick, and have waited patiently for a counter claim from supporters of success stories of which there are none. Find us a hospital that has gone into deep debt to build a new hospital that is doing well, in the last ten years,
          please. This new hospital debt will not only stifle growth, it will raise the cost of everything in the valley from rent to gasoline, as every business will have to raise their prices to offset the increased property taxes. Chelan is already having problems with affordable housing, and you want to raise rents. This will dry up the tax base for 30 years for many of the other projects from parks to schools that are much more vital to growth than a shiny new hospital. If you cannot see the hospital as a terrible investment just look at the promises we got from Toyota Town Center, and who ended up paying for it. The burden of proof is on the borrower, LCCH, not the poor landowners who will get this 30 year lien against their properties, so show us some success stories. VOTE NO, this is no time to put our community into deep unsupportable debt, Maintain and upgrade what we have

          • Bill- We all agree that borrowing beyond the debt capacity is foolish. That is your examples of Coulee Medical Center and Trios. Both of those facilities tried to take on the entire project on their own. Coulee Medical Center did/does not have the tax base to try and bond and Trios is not a Critical Access Hospital so it does not have the ability to do so. LCCH has never thought of doing the entire project on their own, because it would be financially irresponsible to do so. Quincy is, unfortunately, an area that is not thriving, completely the opposite of Chelan. That is the type of community Gov. Inslee is speaking of when concerned about rural medicine, not Chelan.
            After the first bond failed (when the citizens of Chelan thought it was a bad idea to try to rebuild on the granite hillside) it was decided to purchase the Apple Blossom land. This was done by the previous administrators (friends of yours and your architect friend). They knew back then, that the hospital was not designed and built for the future of medicine and could only be upgraded at great cost. So, the very expensive upgrades to the hospital, ones that would not improve patient care at all, have been put off in hopes that a new, modern facility would be built. The administrators have since left LCCH and now your architect friend has been a leading person against building new. Curious.
            I guess you equate property taxes to a lien. I am not sure how you make that connection at all. Then schools, the library, the airport, universities, the county all put liens on your property. And stifling growth? Just take a look at the Port of Chelan report that projects a 28:1 return on investment when a new hospital is built. And a property tax assessment of $38/$100K in value is going to break the economy of Chelan? That is the biggest stretch of all the things you have written on here. When the school bond passed, I don’t recall prices skyrocketing. I would also like proof of how Leavenworth’s growth has been stifled since their hospital was built. Pound the table, Bill.
            Lastly, you asked for success stories of hospitals that did similar to what LCCH is asking. You have never once asked for that before or I surely would have answered your question, unlike a certain person that never names the name of their expert “builder” or “architect”. The success stories are North Valley Hospital in Tonasket, Cascade Medical Center in Leavenworth, and Columbia Basin Hospital in Ephrata. They all have built in the last 10 years. They all now have private rooms. They are all Critical Access Hospitals. They are all on the east side of the Cascades. They all passed bond votes.
            LCCH is no TTC. We have a long history of success. The debt is well within our means. Doing nothing will put the hospital at more financial risk!
            And Bill, I challenge you, I heard the “Nopponents” side still needs 2 more people to sit up and defend your side tonight. Get out from behind your computer keyboard and make your case! I have stood up in front of at presentations and defended my position, let’s see you do it too!

  5. Is all debt bad? How many citizens have paid cash for their houses? A mortgage is “debt”, but most folks buying a home see it as an investment, and the debt is structured to be manageable. I sure couldn’t pay for my house in cash, but I most certainly can afford to pay a monthly mortgage. I see this as a good investment. This is exactly what LCCH is doing – a modest increase in local taxes to make a long term investment in the quality of healthcare in the valley. Please provide the economic studies and evaluations from which you project your Dooms Day scenario. Comparing dissimilar projects is not a valid comparison – anyone knows that. Otherwise you are just engaging in disingenuous hyperbole and scare mongering because you don’t want your particular taxes to go up a small amount per month. Mine go up exactly $6.30/month – seems like a manageable and valuable investment in my future healthcare in the valley. Vote Yes.

    • Yes Chris all debt is bad. If you can afford to do it without debt you really get a monkey off your back. When you add up all that it costs for a loan you can end up as a wage slave, or in the case of a 45 million dollar hospital that is totally unnecessary a hostage to their debt. There is no way that LCCH can stay solvent with this incredible new debt, check out http://www.chelanhospitalfacts.com with an open mind. Then look around at close by hospitals both the ones that are solvent, Brewster, and the ones that are laying people off in desperate straits, like Quincy, Grand Coulee, and Kennewick, with an open mind. They are not dissimilar they are our neighbors, and the CEO’s will talk to you if you give them a call. VOTE NO, let’s keep what we have and not endanger it with unsupportable debt

      • You paid cash for your house? You must be part of the 1% or robbed a bank. I have checked out your “alternative” facts – I’ve heard Can-Do guy mangle and contort his findings and research three times now to support conclusions that just aren’t in keeping with reality. Have you checked out http://www.newhospitalnow.com with an open mind?

  6. Glad you were able to get some hospitals for us to check out. 12 out of 39 CAH hospitals are in big financial trouble and the warnings about debt have played out locally. The denial of similarity between 45 million dollar hospital debt and the 40 million dollar debt of Toyota Town Center, which we (Chelan County taxpayers) had to bail out seems like those proposing this new hospital just don’t want to understand. There are alternatives and with a “Can Do” attitude change at LCCH the people who work there could really change their entire workplace. The whining about the conditions in a hospital that is already well subsidized by the community does not ring true with the people who work in this valley for much lower wages than the high paying jobs at LCCH. I hope those people who have houses that only have a $6.30 per month will someday be able to afford better accommodation and better share the expense of this shiny new hospital. This new hospital is a terrible investment at a risky time, health care funding is in turmoil, and the nation has 19 Trillion Dollar Debt that they are trying to tackle. Certainly this expansion will be targeted by a federal government that is cutting back. Time for the land speculators and the hospital workers to “suck it up” and learn to take care of what we have and appreciate their high paying jobs. Lets Maintain and Upgrade our present hospital and forget about building a Mini Mall hospital out at the dump. VOTE NO Maintain It Don’t Build New

    • Bill- I watched the forum tonight because I was actually at work and could not attend. The one thing from Mike Sherer’s presentation and your post is that you have a very pessimistic attitude. 12 out of 39 CAH hospitals are in trouble. Glass less than 1/3 full. That means 27 are in good financial shape, and LCCH is one of them! Glass more than 2/3 full! Hooray!
      There are alternatives to building new. They were studied and they “can do” them but at much greater expense ($56 million to refurbish vs. $44 million to build new). The caregivers at LCCH have been working with a “can do” attitude for years in a building with a substandard design. We do an excellent job of taking care of patients with the limitation of a concrete and steel building that was designed for 1971 medicine. We appreciate our jobs and have taken excellent care of what we have. We just want better for the people of the valley.
      That is the main difference between us. We want the medical care to advance (private rooms in the medical/surgical unit and Sanctuary, more space for OB, more space for surgery, more space for ancillary services). We want to be able to train new physicians for the future in a residency program that only a new hospital can provide. You want to deny the citizens of the valley all of that.
      Certainly the federal government is in debt, but it is not targeting the CAH program or Medicare for cuts. And again you make a stretch by saying they are going to specifically target LCCH.
      So, do want a pessimistic view of the valley and not care about your fellow citizens? Or do you want an optimistic view with better healthcare that is realistic and will help future generations? Vote yes!

  7. Still spouting the same misinformation, outrage industry hyperbole, comparing apples to oranges and just plain lies. You didn’t even bother to attend the community forum, where your “can-do” point man once again tripped over the concepts of depreciation (at least he left the bag of Cheerios at home), obviously doesn’t comprehend the financial plan by failing to give a coherent explanation that would actually refute the real numbers or just presented the bits that support his confirmation bias. Then he stated that people who live in “remote” places just have to take their chances, and shouldn’t expect very much from their communities – a breathtaking statement that pretty much made his can-do quotient sink into negative territory if the audible gasp from the audience was any indication. He denigrated the staff and commissioners, and lied about the maintenance and upkeep of the building. Part of his “can-do-edness” involved him parking his excavator up at the hospital so LCCH could use it for free to carve out that granite hillside, and enlist volunteers to build a new hospital. I suppose that excavator could be used to start tearing into those 11 houses he proposed purchasing or condemning as well. For Pete’s sake, this ain’t exactly a barn-raising the community is trying to do here.

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