There has been healthy community dialogue about Measure H and Kaweah Delta’s need to meet the State’s earthquake safety mandate.
I would like to respond to several persistent questions about this matter as follows.
- How is Kaweah Delta contributing to build the new acute care hospital to achieve seismic compliance?
To complete the Acequia Wing, expand the emergency department, and develop the new acute care hospital, Kaweah Delta and this community will invest a total of almost $800 million. Of this, Kaweah Delta will directly invest $412 million. If Measure H passes the community will invest $378 million. See the chart below regarding Kaweah Delta and Community contributions)
- Why isn’t Kaweah Delta extending Measure H to surrounding communities whose residents may use Kaweah Delta?
Surrounding Kaweah Delta are other healthcare districts including Exeter, Reedley, Kingsburg, Lindsay, Tulare and Porterville. By law we cannot extend a general obligation bond vote into these communities that are not part of the Kaweah Delta Health Care District. However, people residing in each of these communities often seek primary and specialty healthcare services in Visalia. These individuals are almost always insured or covered by healthcare plans and programs that contribute to the economic viability of Kaweah Delta.
- When did we start planning to meet earthquake safety requirements?
SB 1953 was passed in 1994. Between 1995 and 2000 we worked to ensure that the Mineral King Wing was upgraded to meet mechanical electrical and plumbing requirements so that the Mineral King Wing could be used through 2030. In 1999 Kaweah Delta’s board of directors convened a planning task force including the Visalia City Manager and members of the City Council to outline a long-term plan for Kaweah Delta to meet seismic requirements. This plan resulted in the building of the Acequia Wing and envisioned a future new acute care hospital.
- If Measure H does not pass will Kaweah Delta simply make this project happen anyway?
No. Construction of the new acute care hospital is completely dependent upon passage of Measure H. If this measure were not to pass, our only option would be to make subsequent attempts to pass such a measure. Only with our community’s support will we be able to develop the new acute care hospital. It is simply not true that Kaweah Delta has the debt capacity or cash reserves to complete a project of this magnitude on its own.
- What will Measure H cost?
Measure H will cost an average of $48.70 per year per hundred thousand dollars of assessed valuation over the life of the bonds. This equates to $4.05 per month per hundred thousand of assessed valuation. This is tax deductible.
- Why should I care about a New Acute Care Hospital?
You and I, as well as our loved ones and fellow members of this community, never know when we might need the life-saving services that are immediately available in this community through Kaweah Delta. Heart attacks, strokes and traumatic injuries can happen any time. It is a fact of life. It is also a fact that with the extensive services of Kaweah Delta many lives are saved on a daily basis. We need a robust and vital hospital to provide these services to patients at critical moments in their lives.