Vote yes on 5A and 5B
October 31, 2010
Aspen Valley Hospital has been considering a major reconstruction of its facilities for the past decade. At times this process was suspended while more immediate, pressing matters were necessarily addressed. The restoration of fiscal soundness during the middle of this 10-year period was one such matter. That was accomplished a few years ago with a strong board in place and a competent administrative team hired.
From that sound fiscal position, the board agreed that it was appropriate to continue with consideration of facilities improvement. A process was begun to create a master facilities plan. Essentially, no major change in role was foreseen. AVH would remain a general services community hospital. It was agreed that citizen engagement should be included early on to enhance the project’s responsiveness to community and patient views. Thus, the Citizens Advisory Committee was formed, of which I have been a member for the past four years.
As a start, I learned that the existing hospital facility was completed in 1977. General Motors still made Pontiacs, and the odd Studebaker could be seen roaming the streets of America. The town of Snowmass Village was founded. A local call from a pay phone cost a nickel in Wapakoneta, Ohio. That was then.
Things have changed. Outpatient services and same-day surgery have grown exponentially. CT and MRI are acronyms that most everybody understands. The need for an expanded and redesigned facility was increasingly obvious. In fact, our existing facility provides only half the space which current standards deem appropriate.
The foundation of the master facilities planning process was the completion of a “needs assessment” to address best practices for a general services hospital within a community such as ours in the 21st century. This work was not only about best medical practice “hardware.” It also considered the human aspects of patient privacy and comfort, as well as that of family and friends. The existing AVH facility does not compare well in these attributes with either current standards or facilities in other communities.
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The master facilities plan is appropriate and prudent. It is to be implemented in four phases. Phase I is completed. Each phase can stand alone and is funded separately. Phase II is ready to start. Private philanthropy and hospital resources are expected to fund a significant portion of the total costs.
Ballot issues 5A and 5B request approval for general obligation bonding. This will be the only property tax-based funding for the master facilities plan. Land-use approvals are in place, the hospital team is competent, funding costs are low, and construction bidding is favorable. I will vote “yes” on 5A/5B and respectfully ask that you consider joining me.