Ron Hankins Spins His Opinion of the Hospital District Tax Versus SomCo Tax Before (Sep 2016) Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas
Glen Rose Medical Center-Somervell County
Ron Hankins Spins His Opinion of the Hospital District Tax Versus SomCo Tax Before (Sep 2016)
14 October 2016 at 8:00:46 PM
Guess What! Everybody gets to have an opinion. Ron Hankins sure has his, but that doesn't make his opinions always right or better than anyone else's, even if it seems he has a little movie in his head to tell him he's always right and no matter how many times he is belligerent or threatens to punch people or sics police on them for expressing an opinion in the newspaper. Others, including me, have opinions and mine are based on what you will read below. The action to take is not simply to listen to anyone who asserts an opinion, but look into the facts and judge for yourself.
Here's what Hankins said in a recent meeting, in part
bottom line, so many people that got angry about hospital district like brand new tax it wasn't, county had been funding it. People just didn't know it. Shifted it, lucky we still got it, came within 2 votes of losing. County didn't hvae the deep pockets we'd have lost the hospital then. A lot of people don't realize what they'd got. ...
So let's examine this, starting first with a bit of background beginning in about 2007/2008.
Glen Rose Medical Center was a private non-profit hospital that leased the hospital premises from Somervell County for one dollar a year. Somervell County took part of our taxes, approximately 3 cents to pay for indigent care, because legally mandated to do so. (There's another discussion to be had about how the indigent money is spent, but the basic issue is an ethical one, taking care of the poor and needy in our community).
Glen Rose Medical Center decided at some point that they wanted to expand the hospital and do some remodeling that would cost about 14.4 million bucks. Because Glen Rose Medical Foundation was private, they couldn't simply tax anyone, nor could Somervell County. Gary Marks went to the federal govenment to try to get funding and was turned down. He then went to Chet Edwards for an earmark. Chet Edwards was only able to get about half the money promised. Somervell County had to take out certificates of obligation bonds to secure money to be loaned TO private GRMC, and there had to be an IRS hearing to do so (because governments can't just be giving or loaning money to private entities without the public agreeing.) Nobody went to the hearing. It passed and Somervell County got the certificates which GRMC then spent on the remodel. GRMC was supposed to start paying it back, in payments over X many years, but before that happened, Gary Marks went on a push to set an election to create a hospital district. A hospital district wasn't going to be charging 3 cents for the indigent, but in their first take on the hearing, the district tried to go for 75 cents on the dollar. Jerry Lee showed up to the hearing and put the kibosh on that. I dont' remember for sure but I think the first tax amount on a revised petition was about 12 cents.
A little arrogant of Ron Hankins to insult the citizenry by saying people didn't know our taxes were going, at least the indigent part, to fund the hospital. I do think a lot of people were napping, including me, when the 14.4 million went through. That's 14.4 million plus interest.
So, WHEN was Glen Rose Medical Center, run by private Glen Rose Medical Foundation, supposed to start paying BACK this money? Gee, in September 2009 -(PDF of the payment schedule) You see? In February 2009 Gary Marks started pushing for a district and it would have the effect of the TAXPAYER paying all this debt INSTEAD OF GRMF, who had been LOANED this money as a private entity as Certificates of *OBLIGATION* and there was a September deadline looming. Makes you wonder if GRMF had already been planning a hospital district from the start of getting that money and had no practical intention to try to pay it back.
Incidentally, there were at least a couple of people on the Commissioners Court, after the hospital was taken over by the county, who wanted to find out about having a 3rd party run the hospital. CHS/Lake Granbury Medical Center at that point was interested, but there were factions that deliberately ignored those attempts.If you watched the videos above, you heard Gary Marks say that management could change, and, after all, GRMC was, before it went to be run by the county, a PRIVATE hospital, so it would be more than hypocritical for anyone to be against a private hospital running GRMC since GRMF (Glen Rose Medical Foundation) was doing that. James Barnard said at the time that the indigent tax was about 3 cents and the indebtedness (CO bonds) was 3 cents, thus about 6 cents. YOu can hear the audio, which is also still today on the county website, excerpted here.
You see? We went from a county tax that was paying approximately 6 1/2 cents to a district that currently is at 13 cents, and can go up to 17 without an election (and go as far as 75 cents). Plus hospital districts have the power of emiment domain, which the county did not have. This was not "shifting" a tax.
Some thought that once we got a hospital district that the 14.4 million of CO would go away, like waving a magic wand. Nope. The district took on that indebtedness, although Somervell County is still involved because the bonds are in their name and their rating would be affected if the district doesn't pay. And it's not clear to me that, once Somervell County no longer had to pay that 6/12 cents that they decremented the budget for it.
Because we live in a democracy and Ron Hankins is not dictator, the dream castle he has built up where the hospital should not be scrutinized, the administrator should not be evaluated, the money should flow like water, including to the rich folks in Hood County, are not necessarily what other people agree with. I'm sure some do. I know for a fact a lot of us don't. I'd personally have liked to have seen a 3rd party take over the hospital, would have liked for GRMF to have PAID BACK that 14.4 mil they said they would instead of putting it on OUR backs, get rid of the non-accountable OSA slushfund through the 501a, would like us not to spend one more dime in Hood County's hospital district UNLESS the current board confirms through an intergovernmental agreement or an AG opinion that what they're doing is LEGAL. I wouldn't have approved, in the dire situation with Luminant that was looming, taking out loans for (Somervell County? no) Hood County's Pecan clinic. I would have Dr Vacek step off the board since, as an employee, he is breaking the law to be on the board. I would change the CEO, who is an at-will employee, especially since he allowed a woman who stole money from a church to remain as Director in charge of patient records and HPPA privacy. It troubles me that now that Luminant has apparently settled the property tax lawsuit, the board and GRMC will say "Let's Open the Wallets and Soak the Taxpayers! Yay!".
I also want a hospital but I think, given the fact that people are typically flown or ambulanced over to other hospitals anyway, that a GREAT emergency room would fit our community. I've been against a hospital district, NOT against the hospital, for some years now (and you all DO understand the difference, right, in wanting health care versus a government board that can raise taxes and has been operating with little responsible oversight). And I get, even if NO ONE shares my opinion, which I know is not true, to speak it and speak out to counter Ron Hankins opinion.
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