ILWACO — The Ocean Beach Hospital’s Board of Commissioners is expected this week to address a $10 million bond proposal that, if OK’d, will go before voters next spring.
The commissioners, at their Dec. 15 monthly meeting, will consider the approval of a resolution that it must pass in order for the bond to appear on next year’s April 25 special election ballot. The bond, among other things, would fund the expansion and renovation of the hospital’s Ilwaco clinic to house an urgent care clinic if approved by voters.
Thursday’s meeting is set for 4 p.m. and will be held in the hospital’s conference room A/B, as well as over Zoom. The link to tune into the meeting via Zoom can be found at: www.oceanbeachhospital.com/board.
“Everyone deserves high-quality health care close to home,” Nancy Gorshe, OBH board chair, said in a statement. “We are a public hospital district, and we answer to you. The capital projects we have identified will ensure our rural community has access to the best possible care.”
If the board adopts the resolution, south county voters will have the final say over whether to approve the bond, which carries an estimated $10 million price tag. It would carry an expected initial rate of $0.17 per $1,000 of assessed property value, about half of the rate for the previous bond that voters last approved some two decades ago and was paid off in 2021.
At the estimated rate, the bill for taxpayers whose home has an assessed value of $400,000 would be $68 annually, or about $5.70 per month. The measure would have to receive 60% of the vote in April’s election in order to pass.
If approved, the addition of an urgent care clinic on the peninsula would perhaps be the most impactful and consequential addition ushered in by the bond. A recent community health needs assessment conducted by OBH called the addition of an urgent care clinic “essential” to increasing local access to health care.
The hospital said the insurance co-pay for an emergency room visit exceeds $1,000, vs. about $150 for an urgent care visit — the actual cost depends on an individual’s insurance. Typical reasons for a visit to urgent care include fevers and colds, strains and sprains, earaches, and small cuts and burns.
The construction of the urgent care clinic is projected to cost about $2 million, or 20% of the bond’s overall cost. Other projects that could be covered by the bond include $1.95 million for renovating and expanding the nursing station, pharmacy, patient rooms and bathrooms at OBH; $1.5 million for upgrading imaging equipment, such as CT scans, MRIs and C-Arm; $1.5 million for overhauling the hospital’s HVAC system and adding energy efficiency measures; $765,000 for expanding the Wellness and Rehabilitation Center to include cardio and pulmonary services; and $650,000 for the purchase and development of additional clinic space.
OBH is also considering the addition of a procedure room and needed equipment at its Ocean Park Clinic, in order to better increase access to women’s health care and other procedures.
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