Statement from hospital board on parcel tax vote
Posted on March 9, 2017 by Sonoma Valley Sun
Statement On Parcel Tax Ballot Results
By Jane Hirsch, Chair, Sonoma Valley Health Care District
We are deeply disappointed that the parcel tax measure on the March 7 ballot did not pass. It fell just short of the 67 percent majority needed for approval. Unfortunately, the measure’s failure places the future of the hospital in question.
Because the parcel tax revenue is so critical to continued hospital operation, the board has decided to place the measure on the next ballot in June. It is essential to move quickly because, without a new parcel tax, the hospital will experience a critical revenue shortfall by fall.
It is important to clarify the necessity of passing the parcel tax:
- The hospital cannot continue operating without the revenue provided by the parcel tax. We cannot maintain emergency services or any of the other critical services the hospital currently provides. If the measure fails again, residents will have to seek emergency care in Napa, Petaluma or Santa Rosa.
- The parcel tax has been in place since 2002 when it was needed to help the hospital operate in the black. It has been important for the hospital’s financial health since then and has not been increased in 10 years.
- The total tax requested is $250, a $55 increase over the current tax. This will provide the hospital with approximately $3.8 million in revenue each year, the amount determined necessary to meet projected expenses.
- We ask for this increase in the parcel tax largely to offset reductions in federal and state reimbursement to the hospital. Almost 75% of SVH revenue is provided to patients with government insurance, mainly Medicare, but also Medi-Cal. Both have reduced payments to all hospitals in recent years, but the impact is felt mainly by small hospitals like SVH which serve large numbers of patients with these types of insurance.
- Losing the parcel tax will have an almost immediate impact on the hospital. The current parcel tax expires in June 2017 and the hospital will receive its last payment in April. SVH will experience a significant revenue shortfall by Fall 2017 without the revenue from the parcel tax.
We hope that those who voted no on the Parcel Tax will reconsider, and those who supported it but did not vote will do so in June. We have an excellent hospital and the health of our community will suffer without the round-the-clock emergency care and critical services it provides. The reality is that the hospital cannot continue to serve the Sonoma Valley without the revenue from the parcel tax.