Taxpayers asked to support new care center in Rifle
RIFLE — Grand River Hospital District will seek taxpayer support to replace its 50-year-old E. Dene Moore Care Center. The project would cost as much as $90 million, not including interest.
“We have no other choice,” Grand River Health Chief Executive Officer James Coombs said at the Rifle Chamber’s State of the Community on Thursday. “The cost of replacing the obsolete care center is beyond our means, and we can’t do it without the community’s help.”
The new center would double in bed capacity and will include a memory care and Alzheimer’s unit for the hospital, which the current facility lacks.
“This is an investment to leave a legacy within the community,” Coombs added. “The hospital can be an economic anchor for the entire community.”
Homeowners within the district would pay $34 per $100,000 of assessed value if the bond were passed. The term of the bond would be 20 years, with the repayment plus interest totaling $154 million. The mill levy will cease to exist once the bond is paid.
While $154 million would be a significant investment for the community, the replacement center would meet a number of growing needs for the hospital.
The current E. Dene Moore Care Center is able to accept only one out of five people who request services, according to Kenda Spaulding, administrative director of long-term care at the center. A replacement center would increase from the number of beds from 50 to 90-100. Each patient would have his or her own private room with a window, according to the press release.
In addition to a replacement care center, the bond would further expand the hospital at its current location.
“The demand for our services has skyrocketed,” Coombs said. “Over the past three years Grand River’s medical staff has grown in both primary care providers and specialists. … In the last few months Grand River has had to transfer patients to other facilities, not because Grand River couldn’t take care of them, but because there wasn’t space.”
The expansion would double existing capacity from 12 beds to 25 and would convert existing beds to private rooms, which will allow for 13 additional inpatient rooms. It would also include additional ICU beds and new technologies and services such as cardiac rehab. The new care center would contain roughly four times the amount of beds as the general hospital as the average length of stay at the general hospital is three to four days whereas patients stay at the care center for long-term care.
“We know it may seem like we are asking for the world, but it means the world for those who are tasked with caring for their loved ones,” Coombs said. “For less than the cost of dinner and a movie, you have the peace of mind to know, when your loved one needs hospital care or skilled nursing care, you can have them close to home.”
The hospital hopes to propose the bond on the general election ballot in November, but according to Grand River Health Community Relations Director Annick Pruett, the critical next step will be to form a citizen task force. The task force will be made of 25-40 people and will address any concerns voters may have. There will also be plans to hold several community meetings between now and November.
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