Barry Bergman: Thank you for engaging discussion
November 5, 2007
Craig — To the editor:
I would like to thank all the citizens of Moffat County who have engaged in the thoughtful debate about Referendum 1A. A very active discussion thread has been taking place on the Craig Daily Press Web site.
The information initially pouring through that discussion was highly beneficial to all. However, in the last month the forum has been taken over by people who are no longer debating the merits of whether a new hospital is needed, and has instead turned to discussions more related to whether TMH administration is “telling the truth” or competent. The discussion has even degraded to whether parents are doing a good job of raising their kids. I’d like to address many issues, but 500 words is a very small amount of space.
Questions regarding TMH’s ability to finance the project are valid; we have answered them and are happy to continue to do so. Preliminary feasibility studies have been prepared by an outside consulting firm that specializes in the healthcare industry. It is from those studies that we have determined that the project is simply not feasible without taxpayer support.
Can you trust what you are being told by TMH? You trust us with your health, and we are answering every question we can to earn your trust. We are not Wall Street financiers; we are not healthcare architects, and we are not healthcare construction managers. We have researched and found the best and brightest in these fields to advise and guide us in these critically important areas. You can trust their analysis, and ours.
If the mill levy is approved, a full feasibility study will take place by an outside audit firm. This study will take 90 to 120 days. This study factors in past performance, demographic trends, healthcare industry changes and volatility, quality of management, anticipated changes in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.
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If we pass the feasibility study, our application for HUD support can be submitted, and is a very difficult hurdle to clear. Remember, it is HUD that is acting as co-signer on our debt. If any HUD projects go bad, it is they who are on the hook, not the taxpayers.
Once HUD has approved the project, debt can be issued. Investment firms familiar with this industry understand the scrutiny placed on the project up to this point, so the only question at that time is what will the interest rate be.
As you can see, there is no possibility of the project going forward unless the answer to the question “Can we afford it” has been found to be yes at every step along the way. The views of the few, but very active detractors that either do not personally like management at TMH, or have issues with government in general should really be taken with a grain of salt.
I ask you to consider the critical questions – Does Moffat County need and deserve a new hospital?
Are you willing to vote to make it happen?
Chief Financial Officer, The Memorial Hospital