A New Day in Healthcare does not mean new taxes and rising prices
It’s official! Your new hospital is opening in September. Countless hours of planning and physical work have gone into the new hospital facility from our St. Vincent Health team, contractors and partners. Please join us as we celebrate Leadville’s “can do” spirit at our open house and ribbon cutting on September 8, 2021, from 4-7 p.m.
You may have noticed that our outreach materials carry the message: “It’s a New Day for Healthcare in Lake County.” Our new day phrasing symbolically points to improved and abundant access to healthcare for all of our residents and visitors. From new doctors to new surgical offerings, SVH is positioned to grow and serve the needs of our community as it evolves. Some community members have asked how this new hospital will effect Lake County property taxpayers. Additionally, there are those who fear hospital and healthcare prices will increase as a result of the new construction.
Let’s break these down separately:
It’s my honor and privilege to build a health system that truly serves the community where I live with my family, and where I pay taxes. Currently the mill levy monies that the district receives from taxpayers is less than 10% of the hospital’s operating budget. By adding more services—even with the expense of construction and financing—the hospital is, and will remain, more efficient than it has been in the past. The new hospital construction will not cause an increased mill levy, nor will it require an additional request from our hard-working taxpayers in the hospital district.
We’re grateful for the property tax dollars we do receive. They serve as a stabilizing foundation as we provide a safety net to the community. They permit us to re-invest in our district, care for those who have limited financial resources and provide adequate levels of staff—even though patient volumes are low compared to hospitals in highly populated areas. As an example, the clinical team and physician in the emergency room must be on site and at the ready, no matter how many patients he or she sees per day. In a small-town scenario, the cost of staffing is typically not offset by incoming patient revenue. That’s why we call it a safety net.
The cost of medical services at the new St. Vincent Health will not increase as a result of construction. Our priority is to continue to provide healthcare that is attainable for all patients.
The question about price increase is understandable—because customarily with other types of businesses, when there is a new building or a remodel, consumers see prices rise to help cover that cost.
This is not the case with our new state-of-the-art hospital. Patient co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles and charges do not fluctuate based on our expenses. Additionally, since the new space allows for new services such as surgery, pain management clinic and more—it is this increase in services that will financially sustain the new facility, not an increase in charges to patients.
At St. Vincent Health we are committed to price transparency. There’s an online cost estimator tool linked in the footer of our website, StVincent.Health, for patients who want to research procedures and costs. Patients can also call our billing office at 719-486-7172 to inquire about costs and financial assistance programs.
I’m always thankful for the opportunity to answer your questions and learn from you. Please do not hesitate to contact me.
I look forward to seeing you in person on September 8 at our open house!
Brett Antczak, MHA CMPE