Mill levy helps fund quality care at Aspen Valley Hospital
FACTS ABOUT THE MILL LEVY
- Ballot Issue 5A asks to extend the hospital districts existing operational mill levy of 1.5 mills for another five years. This is not a new tax — it is simply an extension of the existing tax.
- The mill levy has been at 1.5 mills since 1995, reauthorized by voters every five years.
- The mill levy is expected to generate slightly less than $3.9 million in 2016. As property values change, the revenues will also change.
- Operational mill levy revenues are deposited in the hospital’s general fund and contribute to day-to-day operations things like updating medical equipment, salaries, staff recruitment, continuing education, maintenance, utilities and care for the indigent. <
Deborah Breen, President & CEO Aspen Valley Hospital Foundation
Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) is a 25-bed Critical Access Hospital (CAH) with a long history in our community and care that stands second to none. CAHs are vital to the healthcare infrastructure of America. Unfortunately, the stand-alone community hospital like AVH is becoming a dying breed. Of the 2,322 critical access hospitals across the country, 58 have closed since 2010, and more than half operate with negative margins. Many rely on tax dollars through a mill levy, as does AVH.
AVH, however, has a much brighter outlook than most CAHs — thanks in no small part to a generous community, strong fiscal policy, a governance board who promotes accountability and transparency, and diverse and talented healthcare professionals who deliver high-quality, lifesaving care. With a Baa2 investment grade rating by Moody’s Investor Services, AVH is in a league of its own. Diligent cost containment and responsible management of hospital resources contribute to this rating.
In talking with people about the hospital, the construction progress, the capital campaign and the remaining philanthropic support needed to complete the Master Facilities Plan (MFP), I am often asked about the financial strength of the hospital, how the MFP is being funded, where philanthropic funds are being directed and where the mill levy dollars are being spent.
Relative to the MFP, this project has been funded specifically with General Obligation bonds that were issued in 2010, hospital equity already in place, and through a dedicated philanthropic campaign. While a negative vote on the mill levy (Ballot Issue 5A) does not affect the hospital expansion or where capital campaign dollars are being directed ($36 million already raised), it significantly reduces funds available for day-to-day operations.
AVH cares for a broad range of conditions and has 25 different specialties represented on its medical staff. Numerous national awards have been received and our quality indicators are impressive — in fact, year to date, hospital-acquired infection rates are at .2%, far less than the national average of 5%. Finally, each year a third-party expert (Cleverly and Associates) is hired to conduct a thorough review of hospital charges as compared to other hospitals in the region, state and nation. Their reports consistently show that AVH offers a price advantage.
Quality, diverse services, convenience, accountability, financial stability and competitive pricing — all the things you want from your community hospital. Aspen Valley Hospital delivers on all fronts!