North Valley Hospital hoping to pass $7.5 million bond issue in Nov. 3 elec

TONASKET – In order to completely finish the hospital addition, North Valley Hospital District is hoping to pass a $7.5 million bond issue in the Nov. 3 election.

This will be a 25 year bond issue which is needed due to substantial increases in construction costs and new building code requirements which are making the district unable to complete the proposed project within the $11 million bond issue which was approved in 2007.

The $7.5 million will be used to finish the admitting and lobby area in the new addition, finish the CT area in the new addition which will be close the emergency room, finish the swing bed rooms in the patient rooms, finish the labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms in the new addition and build additional parking for the new addition. The money will also be used to relocate surgery to the basement of the new addition and to relocate the clinic to the second floor of the existing hospital. Finally, the money will be used to upgrade the mechanical systems such as the boilers, the air conditioning units, the plumbing, the electricity, the heat exchangers and the control system.

Warner Bartleson, administrator of the district, said the need to finish the admitting and lobby area and to finish the CT area near the emergency room were what triggered the need for the bond issue. He said upgrading the existing building will allow for more space and the district will get more for their money than if they were to build an entirely new hospital. Finally, Bartleson said the upgrading of the mechanical systems will pay itself off in 15 years due to the energy savings the district will receive by using newer systems.

According to a fact sheet from the hospital district, this new bond will mean a projected additional 54 cents of taxes to each $1,000 worth of assessed property value. Added to the 77 cents of tax increase from the $11 million 2007 bond issue, this will mean a projected $1.31 increase in taxes for every $1,000 worth of assessed property value in 2010. An example the district gives is that for a home valued at $140,000, this bond will cost about $6.30 each month.

In order to get information about the bond issue out to the community, a bond committee has been formed. This committee is composed of Dale White, Wayne Verbeck, Caron Thrasher, Bertha and Herb Wandler and Lael Duncan. Duncan and H. Wandler are commissioners on the hospital board and B. Wandler is H. Wandler’s wife. White is a retired veteran while Verbeck is a representative of the community since he was born and raised in Tonasket.

“I’m really involved in this bond issue because even though we’re a rural area, the people deserve quality care,” White said. “Having an operating room in the basement will allow us to provide better care and to keep people up here instead of transporting them to other hospital districts.”

Marcia Nallion, registered nurse and chief operations officer, said the district delivers anywhere between eight and 12 babies a month and that the labor and delivery rooms will allow for labor, delivery and recovery to all take place in one room.

“There will also be great infant security,” John Boyd, support services director, said. “An alarm will be set off if anyone tries to remove the baby and then we’ll be able to track the baby.”

Bartleson said if this bond issue does not pass, the district will continue to apply for grants and appropriations from the government in order to get the funds they need.

“We would have to borrow more money from the county to do repairs and replace these projects if the bond doesn’t pass,” Bartleson said.

“That would cost us more in the long run than if the bond passes,” White added. “Most people don’t think anything of buying a $5 latte a month but for that cost, they’ll be getting a wonderful hospital facility. This facility has the lowest healthcare costs of any medical facility in the state of Washington. The people are getting quality care at a bargain price.”

Bartleson said one of the reasons the three new physicians in the district are here is because they see an area that not only has good schools but is dedicated to having high class medical facilities.