There is no doubt that additional property tax funding assistance will be needed to help Geary Community Hospital meet major financial challenges.
Hospital Trustees Beth Clark said there's no doubt that funding support is going to be necessary. "We know we need the County's help. That's not even a question.We need that badly."
The Geary County Commission currently levies two mills annually to support hospital operations and another four mills to help retire bond debt on the western wing of the facility.
Clark said a community can't be without a hospital. "They just can't. It's a community in trouble if they don't have their hospital. And I think the voters and the members of our community understand that, and I think they'll support it. So I think that's coming next."
Hospital and county officials are talking now to determine the specific amount of funding Geary Community will need in the future. It is possible the county commission could put a proposed property tax increase before the public in an election, but no action has been taken on that matter at this point.
Hospital Board Chair Theresa Bramlage said it would be irresponsible for ask for a tax hike if the hospital is not financially efficient. But she feels that they have become more efficient with the changes that have been made there. "When you look at how much we pay out a year, $4 million a year in indigent care. And we receive approximately $500,000. That definitely is upside down."
Hospital leaders have taken measures to reduce expenses and are exploring other ways to produce revenue including telemedicine options.