Hospital backs referendum

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If passed during this election, Referendum B would allow government-owned health care agencies to partner with public or private entities to purchase equipment and services.

The Memorial Hospital Administrator Randy Phelps said he is all for it.

"We want to get it passed because it gives us the opportunity to be equity partners with private entities," he has said. "A case in point is when Northwest Health Specialists envisioned bringing an MRI machine to town and asked us for a joint venture. But we could not do it."

The issue was on the ballot in 1998 but did not pass because of a lack of public education, said Gary Davis, vice president of government affairs with the Colorado Health and Hospital Association. He said he hopes that will be different this year because allowing hospitals to partner with private industry will benefit health care facilities, especially those in rural communities.

"Those who primarily benefit will be rural communities with public hospitals," he said.

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