ACH review begins

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January 27, 2010 - 12:00 AM

Joyce Heismeyer is eager to help Allen County commissioners get a comprehensive stem-to-stern view of Allen County Hospital.
Heismeyer, ACH chief executive officer, told commissioners Tuesday morning she had up-to-date information about patient numbers and medical services that would help a consultant analyze whether a remodel of ACH would be favorable to building a new hospital.
Commissioners intend to pick a consulting firm in February from among nine that applied.
No timeline has been established, but commissioners have a rough idea of how they want to proceed to make 2010, as Commissioner Dick Works called it at the Thrive Allen County annual meeting, the “Year of the Hospital.”
A nine-member advisory committee has been named and, once a consultant is selected, they will all meet with commissioners to work toward a recommendation on the hospital.
Commissioners hope to settle on a proposal by June to permit putting a funding issue on the Aug. 3 primary election ballot. The commissioners’ decision will include financing options.
Commissioner Gary McIntosh said he would like to move quicker on financing.
“I’ve heard a lot of enthusiasm from people about health care improvements,” he said. “I think we should send a message to the community that we’re serious about improving health care by identifying a sales tax (1 percent has been mentioned) as our primary funding stream.”
“I think the community would be on board with a sales tax,” Commissioner Rob Francis agreed.

A COMPONENT of Allen County assuming full control of the hospital is the county buying out Hospital Corporation of America’s interest.
Heismeyer said figures would be forthcoming, but it would take some time, as HCA must examine capital expenditures going back to the early 1980s.
Replacement equipment, such as beds, belong to the county, but new technology, such as imaging equipment, is in the financial purview of HCA, she said.
“It’s difficult and cumbersome to reach the buyout numbers,” Heismeyer said.

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