Saturday, February 24, 2018

Officials of Breckinridge hospital say it needs new tax to survive

Photo via Norton Healthcare
Officials of Breckinridge Memorial Hospital in Hardinsburg say the 25-bed, critical-access hospital is running out of money and can't survive without a new property tax in one of the state's most agriculture-dependent counties.

Tim Crockett, chief financial of Breckinridge Health Inc., told 150 to 200 people during a Feb. 21 forum at Breckinridge County High School that its savings are depleted despite actions to reduce costs. He blamed "health-care reform coupled with decreased Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements," as described by WXBC Radio in Hardinsburg.

Breckinridge Health, a nonprofit with a home-health service, a nursing facility and primary-care clinics, is seeking a dedicated tax of 10 cents per $100 worth of property. That would require 1,800 signatures on a petition to the county Fiscal Court, the station reports. "Attendees who spoke ranged from support for the proposed levy to concerns that only property owners would pay the increased cost. A second forum is scheduled for next Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Frederick Fraize High School cafeteria" in Cloverport.

Breckinridge County (Wikipedia map)
Some responses to a survey placed in the Feb. 14 Breckinridge County Herald-News were reported in the weekly paper's Feb. 21 edition. One said, "I don't like taxes and we own considerable amounts of property [but] is our hospital not as important as [the] library, extension office, health department and more?" All have local, dedicated taxes. Another wrote, "Only someone who has been lucky enough to not need emergent medical care would be fool enough to not support our hospital."

The negative responses included, "The hospital has spent an enormous amount of money foolishly buying up excess property." Another wrote, "I love our hospital but we cannot afford any more money out of our fixed income. Why sneak to get it passed? Let the voters decide! Referring to the hospital's affiliation with Louisville-based Norton Healthcare, another wrote, "Our hospital can be saved whether we are taxed or not. It's a process of negotiation that needs to be explored with other financial entities."

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