St. Charles Herald-Guide

Vote for hospital bond will cause further debt

Letters to the Editor - April 5, 2012

Dear Editor,

Once again, in less than a year, the Administrator and operators of our St. Charles Parish Hospital are asking the good folks of St. Charles Parish to give them more money to expand the hospital. Nothing has changed, except for their plan on how they will access your taxes.

They are asking the taxpayers to approve the extension of existing bonds, and attempting to have you believe it will not cost you more. It is very similar to a homeowner taking a second mortgage on their home. While it certainly gives you more money upfront, it will put you deeper in debt, and this will certainly put our hospital and its owners, the taxpayers, deeper in debt.

The hospital, by the Administratorís own admission at a St. Charles Parish Council meeting, has operated in the red, except for two of the past twenty plus years. Just this past year the hospital had a difficult time securing an operating loan because of past problems with debt.

Our hospital, as with most hospitals who serve the poor and uninsured, is scheduled to receive less funds from Medicaid sources in the future; therefore, they will have less revenue to operate.

The hospital Administrator has also admitted that our parish hospital will probably never be large enough to exist on its own; however, he continues year after year to request permission to expand with the use of your tax dollars. The long term financial future and sustainability of our hospital will not improve using this business model.

My concerns about the financial stability of our hospital and its future have no bearing on the nurses or any employees involved in the day to day operation of the hospital. Anyone who uses the services of, or visits the hospital, (and I have family members who do) will realize that you will not find a friendlier staff or a cleaner facility.

No business that loses money year after year expands. They instead streamline operations and become the best they can at what they do, if they hope to stay in business.

As I have suggested in the past, the operators of our hospital should present the public with a plan to stabilize the future finances of our hospital.

We need to protect our hospital so that it can continue to function for the members of our community who need and require its services, but we need to do it in a fiscally sound manner.

Milton J. Allemand, Jr.

48 River Park Drive