Home Breaking News St. Mary Hospital Service District 2 Votes to Put a Millage Proposition on the Ballot

St. Mary Hospital Service District 2 Votes to Put a Millage Proposition on the Ballot

by KQKInews
3 minutes read

MORGAN CITY, LA July 8, 2024 — Hospital Service District No. 2 in St. Mary Parish (HSD2) voted to put a millage proposition on the December 7, 2024, ballot at its meeting on July 3. The Board will be seeking voter approval for a 9-mill property assessment for a 10-year term, to assist with the renovation, repair, maintenance and preservation of Ochsner St. Mary Hospital.

Dr. William Cefalu, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners said, “The citizens of the Hospital Service District 2 own the Ochsner St. Mary facility. Thus, we must responsibly work to ensure that our facility will be able to serve the healthcare needs of our community now and in the future. “

In a statement released Monday afternoon, Hospital Service District No. 2 said, “More than four decades ago, the HSD 2 built the hospital. Naturally, essential work needs to be done to protect and preserve this valuable community asset. The Board wants to be proactive in providing the best environment for healthcare providers and patients.”

The HSD 2 said major use of the funds will be for the following:

• Resealing the building’s envelope to keep out moisture
• Replacement of the windows with ones insulated and storm-resistant
• Replacing the HVAC system of heating and air conditioning
• Renovation of patient rooms and waiting areas
• Providing scholarships for local youth to receive medical and healthcare career education and training to serve the community in the future.

The board said it wants to be best positioned to handle the nationwide provider shortage and staff as many service lines as possible locally, adding that is why it is necessary to use some of thee funds to support scholarships for local students to return to the community.

The board further stated that, “The community of East St. Mary until 20 years ago had a supporting millage for the hospital. At this time, the HSD 2 is essentially seeking to reinstate the same 9 mill assessment to support our health care needs. It is estimated that the average homeowner will pay $45 per year, which is very much in line with other communities with Hospital Service Districts throughout the state. Louisiana has 31 Hospital Service Districts that are comparable to St. Mary HSD 2, 87% receive tax support from their communities for their hospitals. Our community is one of only 4 communities in Louisiana which do not provide that support.

It is important that healthcare be kept local and accessible in a properly maintained facility. Local care saves lives and helps citizens to have a good quality of life. It also is an essential community resource for economic development. Local healthcare is on the top of the checklist of services that businesses and people use when looking to locate to an area.

Our community is fortunate to have a partnership with Ochsner Health, which leases our facility and operates it as Ochsner St. Mary. However, our Board would like the public to understand that East St. Mary citizens continue to own the facility. Thus, as the owner, our community must be committed to seeing the building repaired, maintained and preserved for future generations. Towards that end, the HSD 2 Board has agreed to a supplemental funding Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) with Ochsner Health. It facilitates the necessary supplemental funding for mutually agreed upon repairs, equipment and services. If the community approves the proposition, the funds will go to the HSD 2 directly. The HSD 2 Board of Commissioners will be responsible for ensuring that the funds will be used for their intended purposes. They will be dedicated to those purposes. It is estimated that the millage will provide $3.4 million per year for a 10-year period.”

The HSD 2 said it will be providing more information to the community about the use of the funds in the future. Dr. Cefalu stated, “Our community wants and deserves quality healthcare provided in a well-maintained and up-to-date facility.”

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