Letters to the Editor: Friday, March 9

Transit tax about local healthcare

Nine years ago I was asked to join the Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors.

I readily accepted because I wanted to do what I could to raise funds for the hospital so that it is able to provide the best health care possible for our community and island visitors. I have been gratified that the Foundation has raised funds to provide medical equipment that has helped the physicians as they treat their patients.

The State of California’s Seismic Requirements state that all hospitals have to be seismically retrofitted by January 1, 2030 or the State will close the door.

Time is not on our side. We need the capability to move forward with plans for a new hospital. We carefully examined the costs of retrofitting the existing hospital and determined that it is not financially feasible to retrofit.

The Avalon Medical Development Corporation Board Directors, on which I now serve, looked at various options for raising funds to help finance a new hospital.

We looked at resort fees for the hotels, increasing sales taxes and increasing property taxes. The Board felt that those plans would put an unfair burden on the community.

In my opinion the transit tax on the April 10, 2018 ballot is the fairest and most equitable way to help defray costs associated with building a new hospital. Everyone who comes in and out of Avalon will become stakeholders in the new hospital. My goal has always been and continues to be to provide as much healthcare on the island as possible.

I believe our community needs and deserves a hospital that meets its needs. We have an excellent medical team who want to provide care in a hospital that is modern with state of the art equipment because there is a mutual benefit to physician and patient as the level of care dramatically improves. This transit tax is not about any one person or idea. It is about healthcare for our community.

On March 15, and 22 at 7 p.m., there will be community meetings in the Parish Hall at St. Catherine’s Church.

At this time you will hear facts presented about the ballot measure and you will have ample opportunity to have your questions answered. The meeting on March 15 will be a bilingual presentation. I encourage your attendance.

I am respectively asking for your “yes” vote on April 10.

Carol Reynolds, Vice Chair

AMDC Board of Directors

Avalon

 

In support of passenger tax

I am writing in support of the Measure T initiative to impose a tax on passengers arriving or departing from Catalina Island (Ferry, Aircraft, and Cruise Ship etc.) to support a new medical center.

This small fee of $1.00 each way will keep islanders from having to secure all the costs for an earthquake compliant facility and allow both islanders and visitors the security of having a health care facility on island.

Having a Rural hospital is not something we could do without on Catalina. Healthcare is a privilege and a necessity but buildings don’t come cheap. Our community is growing and our Medical Center should grow as well. The current facility was built about 60 years ago to meet the needs of a much smaller community and visiting population. All of our past CEO’s have tried to find solutions and plan for the inevitable 2030 deadline that requires the Catalina Island Medical Center (CIMC) to meet the Seismic standards for California. This initiative is the answer to all of their hopes for the future of CIMC. The current initiative before us will create an almost unnoticeable tax and will guarantee we have an up to date, seismic compliant hospital on the island. The hospital here is so much more than an emergency room, it also houses the skilled nursing facility, which has been home to elderly islanders, the Clinic, that saves us from having to go overtown for all of our medical needs, physical therapy, diabetic instruction, home health aides, mental health services, and specialties such as telemedicine psychiatry and podiatry. All right here on the island!

Our hospital has been unable come into compliance with the required CA earthquake standards as required by the State of California for each year that had a deadline. While extensions were given, the final deadline is 2030. We need a building that meets the 2030 earthquake requirements in place before 2030 or the doors close. If we lose the services that CIMC provides we are putting our own lives and health at risk. Your family and friends and all the island visitors are at risk of losing services unless this measure passes on April 10th.

This small tax would not deter a visitor. What visitor would chose to visit where there were no medical services and their only option in an emergency would be life flight off the island at exponential costs in comparison to their $2.00 per person per trip contribution? I am not even sure that the cruise ships would land somewhere that could not provide medical care. Seniors and families with children would reconsider visiting as well.

Island residents we should be grateful that there is a solution that spreads the costs out among visitors and residents.

This small increase allow us to have the continued benefit of a Medical Center offering Hospital and Clinical services in our town. If you value your health and your life vote yes on Measure T for the hospital tax. Your vote will allow service to continue and improve the services that the hospital offers in an expanded and update facility. Plans for this new facility include private hospital rooms, operating room, a fitness facility and more.

Vote for your health. Vote for your life.

Vote Yes on Measure T on April 10th!

Denise Morris

Avalon

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