Voters get to weigh in on new hospital

In all reality, Chase County’s far past due for a new facility. The current facility was built in 1977. It was state-of-the-art then but far from it today.

Voters in Chase County will get the opportunity to set the course for a new generation when they go to the polls this year to vote on bonds for a new hospital.
     Last week, members of the board of trustees for Chase County Community Hospital voted to let the residents of Chase County decide if it’s time for a new hospital.
    That vote was a vote of confidence in the people of Chase County to do the right thing­—vote for a new hospital.
    The board wouldn’t have had to do that.
    The hospital board has the authority to seek financing from outside entities, such as the USDA’s Rural Development agency, and move forward with the project without a vote. But the board decided the people deserve to have their say in setting the path for Chase County and its hospital.
    Is there ever a good time to put a bond issue before voters, asking them to help pay for a brand new facility, whether it be a new school or new hospital? Simply answered—No!
    We all realize economic conditions in the farming world are downright awful right now. But history shows us that things will turn around.
    It’s with that unique brand of optimism that farmers continue to put their crops in the ground—hopeful that higher yields and better prices are just around the corner.
    It’s also that optimism and progressive attitude that sets Chase County apart from so many other rural counties.
    That can-do attitude is exactly why people in Chase County understand the need for a new hospital as an investment in the future of our county and for the next generation to follow.
    In all reality, Chase County’s far past due for a new facility. The current facility was built in 1977. It was state-of-the-art then but far from it today.
    The difference in the way health care was delivered 40 years ago compared to today can almost be measured in light years.
    The board reached the unanimous decision that a new hospital is the best answer for Chase County. They completed a comprehensive strategic planning process, looking at all the options and costs.
    Among the things they learned is that people are voting with their feet by seeking health care outside of Chase County.
    On a positive note, they learned Chase County and the area served by the hospital stands poised for growth and a state-of-the-art hospital facility would play a key role in fostering that growth.
    They also learned about the limitations of the existing facility and the work needed to bring it up to code once the first wall was moved.
    All said and done, a remodel and expansion project is estimated to cost $2.37 million more than a new facility. The cost for a new facility was estimated at $22 million. Granted, that’s not small change.
     Until this year, Chase County residents have not been called upon to support their hospital with tax dollars since the $1.6 million bond for the new facility in 1977 was paid off.
    If communities in Chase County are going to grow and draw young families back here, it’s essential a new hospital facility becomes a reality. It’s not for my generation—it’s for my kids’ generation and my grandchildren’s generation.
    Building a hospital is the right decision and you get the opportunity to vote on the future for our people and our county.

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