City invites hospital CEO to discuss new initiative

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The Avalon city council has potentially breathed new life into an initiative to support the construction of a new hospital facility, agreeing to invite CEO Jason Paret to a future meeting to discuss what can be done. The effort came during a board meeting of the Avalon Medical Development Corp., which consists of the city council m which provides some financial oversight on issues related to the Council.

According to city officials, the city offers the hospital a rolling line of credit and oversees use of the portion of property taxes dedicated to the Catalina Island Medical Center. The board has no role in the medical center’s day-to-day affairs and only meets as required by law. The city receives financial reports every other month from the facility.

City council member Oley Olsen serves as Executive Director of the board.

During this portion of Tuesday’s meeting, city council member Pam Albers suggested the city invite the CEO to a future meeting to discuss a new ballot initiative for the November ballot.

She said there were “certain things said” in the CEO report submitted to the board that piqued her interest and she suggested inviting him to a future meeting.

“I was one of the people who was very vocal about the April (hospital) ballot measure,” said Albers. “Myself, and many others, questioned the need for a $60 million facility and whether it could be sustained,” she said.

Nevertheless, she also said “we all know the hospital needs to be rebuilt; (the year) 2030 is right around the corner. I, for one, think it would be in everyone’s interest to have something on the ballot in November,” she said, so that “money can begin accruing.”

State authorities have mandated the institute retrofit its facility to include earthquake ready building codes by that date. The current facility does not enjoy earthquake protections.

Albers said she wants to question the CEO about how to mitigate some of the concerns expressed in the report that seemingly doomed Measure T in April. The much-discussed ballot measure would have added $1 to the cost of a transit ticket to reach the island.

Voters defeated the measure with 41 percent voting in favor but more voting against.

Albers said some of the concerns identified in the report included:

• The lack of a sunset provision (when the tax would no longer be collected)

• Stipulations of where the funds would go if for any reason a new hospital was not built.

• Insufficient collaboration with cruise industry officials.

• Insufficient lead time to allow carriers to prepare for collection of the fee.

• The lack of procedures to deal with mooring boaters.

• The lack of audit features built into the measure.

Reached on vacation in Mexico, Catalina Island Medical Center CEO Jason Paret said he “is always ready” to discuss the improvement of health care on Catalina Island. “Of course, I am willing to discuss healthcare with the council,” he said. Paret said the hospital board and its foundation have been deeply engaged in an examination of the vote since April in order to determine how voters felt about the measure to determine how best to move forward.

 

“I look forward to any meaningful dialogue that could lead to better healthcare on the island,” he said.

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