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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Support depends on financial health
Opinions on Whidbey General Hospital’s $50 million bond bring various views.
Some opponents vote against any hospital measure and others don’t want additional taxes. Bond supporters are divided between those who vote “yes” for anything the hospital wants while others see a “yes” vote as beneficial to the community.
I see the hospital as a facility providing needed community services. But this construction bond should not be supported until the organization becomes financially viable.
From 2010 through 2012, Whidbey General has operated at a financial loss with the approximate values being: 2010 = $721,000, 2011 = $3.1 million, and 2012 = $2.2 million.
So how’s 2013? It’s critical that voters go to the hospital’s website and read August’s commissioners meeting minutes. June brought a loss of $1.6 million. Add the $2.1 million lost January through May and the hospital has lost $3.7 million the first half of 2013.
Commissioner Gardner reminded everyone that June’s $1.6 million loss is not the complete picture and CEO Tom Tomasino noted that it will be December before we will know the year’s revenue.
That’s right. Because of problems with the new Meditech software package the hospital’s financial status won’t be known until year’s end. Also, in the August meeting minutes you’ll read “Terry Litke, CFO, reported that due to the slow down and cash back we are talking with Whidbey Island Bank for a line of credit…”
As hospital district residents we have the obligation to support facility maintenance and operations. Major new construction projects must be funded within a financially healthy district. Our hospital has a four-year history of continuing financial loss and is now preparing to open a line of credit in order to meet operational obligations. Hospital leadership has to reverse this financial nosedive before support of a construction bond can be considered.