NVH to consider tax credit

TONASKET – The North Valley Hospital District Board of Commissioners in an effort to help boost hospital patient volumes, is considering whether to offer patients a discount tied to the patients’ tax assessment to the district.

“We’ve been looking into this,” said North Valley Hospital administrator Linda Michel. “We don’t have a final policy yet but wanted to see what the commissioners thought.”

Modeled after a similar policy in use at the Lake Chelan Community Hospital, homeowners would be eligible for a once-per-year discount based upon the amount of taxes paid on their primary residence to support the hospital. A discount equaling that amount, up to a maximum of $500, would be applied to the patient’s balance.

“If you pay $200 (in taxes), you’d get a $200 discount,” Michel said. “If you paid $1,000, you would get a $500 discount.

“It’s a way of giving back to the community for what they’ve given to us. We’re confident it would bring some of our community back through our front door. We truly believe we can increase our volumes that way.”

Commissioner Lael Duncan asked whether the discount would be applied all at once, or as a percentage throughout the year, and expressed concern that some patients might use the discount and then go elsewhere.

“I think most of it would be used toward our bread-and-butter stuff that already makes revenue,” Michel said. “Our mammograms, our x-rays, our labs, our MRIs. They already make revenue, and if we increase those volumes they will still make that revenue.”

The Lake Chelan policy applies the discount to account balances after all third party payments (insurance, etc.) are received. A copy of the patient’s Property Tax Statement is required to apply the discount.

The commissioners, though generally favorable toward the proposal, asked for more information on the specifics before making a decision.

The Board of Commissioners next meets on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7:00 p.m. in the North Valley Hospital board room.

About Brent Baker

Brent is a reporter for the Gazette-Tribune. Prior to working at the G-T, he was the sports editor for Sunrise Publishing from 2000-2005 in Michigan. He subsequently owned and operated Buckland Media, a high school sports website, in Michigan until 2010. He and his wife Kim, who have an adult son, moved to Tonasket in 2010. Brent started work at the G-T in 2011.

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