Hospital board looking for property that gives residents best value

To the Editor:

The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees has been engaged in gathering the necessary information regarding a number of potential sites upon which a replacement hospital facility could be constructed. Of paramount importance has been the objective of honoring the commitment to the community that was made in November 2002 to develop financial comparisons between the total cost of construction between alternative sites and the site adjacent to the existing hospital.

The Board has received a recommendation from Hammes to reduce the sites to three based primarily on issues that would be of importance to the HUD Section 242 evaluators. However, this recommendation has been made in the absence of comparative financial information that would enable the Board to fairly evaluate the total project costs between the sites. For example, the utilization of existing facilities on the current site could have a significant impact on the overall initial cost of the project and the Board wants to take this into consideration before making a final decision. Therefore, the Board has instructed Hammes to develop site comparison evaluations based upon the total costs. Pending the receipt and evaluation of this information, the Board is not willing to eliminate any of the five sites from consideration. Hammes has agreed to develop the cost comparisons prior to moving forward.

The Board wants to emphasize again that no site has been eliminated from consideration, including those properties that were on the original list. It is possible that the Board will re-visit those proposals if the costs or other factors eliminate the five sites that are being looked into most carefully at this time. The Board carefully examined every proposal that was received and in every case one or more Board Members visited the sites. The Board discussed each site thoroughly before it was set aside for additional consideration.

The Board is very mindful that our passion and the organization imperative to replace the current facilities can not over-shadow our fundamental fiduciary responsibility to make absolutely certain that the financial projections for the debt service coverage are accurate and achievable. The Board will not allow the organization to become "building poor" or cash strapped to the point of not being able to execute is primary mission of providing outstanding healthcare for the community. Further, HUD as the insurer of the debt, will not allow the hospital to over commit is financial future since they will be at risk in the event of any de-fault. The financial performance of the hospital over the past four months has not met our expectations. Steps are being taken by Management to address the causes of the changes and to implement appropriate corrective actions. The Board is confident that the financial performance will be turned around.

The Board of Trustees want to take this opportunity to thank everyone took the time to complete and submit a site proposal. Particularly, the Board wants to express its most sincere appreciation on behalf of the Hospital and the Community for those who offered to donate land for the replacement hospital project. These generous expressions of community spirit are recognized by the Board and are reflective of the kind of citizens that have their homes in Moffat County. Thank you very much.

The Memorial Hospital

Board of Directors

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