Medical Center seeks $1 transit fee to pay for new hospital

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The board of the Catalina Island Medical Center has initiated a petition drive to create support for a transit fee to support the refurbishing and enhancement of the institution.

If they are able to generate sufficient support on the Island, the CIMC will place a small transit fee on the ballot next April to provide for “future generations of quality healthcare” with minimal impact to local businesses.

The board of the Catalina Island Medical Center has initiated a petition drive to create support for a transit fee to support the refurbishing and enhancement of the institution.

If they are able to generate sufficient support on the Island, the CIMC will place a small transit fee on the ballot next April to provide for “future generations of quality healthcare” with minimal impact to local businesses.

According to a website posting on the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau, the existing medical facility on the Island “will be shut down by the year 2030” due to earthquake safety requirements.

“As many of our Chamber friends know, a new hospital must be built on the island or the State of California will shut our existing location down by the year 2030 due to earthquake safety requirements,” said Shannon Hill, chairwoman of the board.

“Since this determination, the CIMC Foundation has been working tirelessly to develop strategies for funding the new medical center,” she said.

In addition to meeting the earthquake requirements, the facility also needs major improvements designed to “better serve our community of residents and visitors in so many ways,” said Hill.

The center is the largest medical institution on the Island and, in many cases, the only buffer between a serious injury and a medevac helicopter ride to the mainland. Most health insurance policies cover only a small part of the cost of the medevac service.

Hill said the Medical Center could use more private rooms, additional services, and a fitness center, to name just a few of the exciting enhancements on the drawing board.

Funding the improvements won’t be easy, she acknowledges in the post.

“It’s no surprise that a new facility will cost tens of millions of dollars, especially here on the island,” said Hill.

So she said the Foundation is circulating a petition to put a small transit tax on next April’s ballot.

“By implementing a $1 transit tax on every incoming and outgoing ferry, helicopter and cruise ship passenger, we will be able to fund the new medical center with minimal impact for business, residents, and visitors,” Hill said.

The proceeds of this fee will be directed towards the Medical Center to help fund the new hospital our community so desperately needs if approved by the voters.

She urged Chamber members and islanders to support the petition and ultimately support the fee.

“Together,” she said, “we can preserve the future of quality health care on Catalina Island for generations to come.”

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