On Texas Hospital Districts and Non-District Clinics and Whether The Ends Justify the Means
22 May 2019 at 4:31:41 PM
There is another argument made about spending taxpayer money outside the district that says that if the clinic, wherever it is located, makes money which then comes back to fund the hospital, it's fine. That's regardless if the clinic already exists within another hospital district and without ensuring that a district has an intergovernmental agreement to operate in a different area outside the hospital district territory. Reminding as I talk about this that the easy way to resolve this would be for Somervelll County Hospital District to quit shying away from getting a legal opinion from the Texas Attorney General. Having an opinion would go a long way to shutting up those, including myself, who don't want our taxmoney being spent outside the district.
So, two different instances I want to talk about. One is, money, according to Chapter 283 of the Health and Safety Code as well as Article 9 Section 9 of the Texas Constitution indicate that hospital districts are territorially bounded and there for the benefit of the citizens who reside there and pay taxes for services. A hospital does not have to become a hospital district but if they do and it's voted in, then they should abide by what is ultimately a restriction bounded by the county boundaries. You and I aren't likely to go drive up to Allen, Texas, to use the therapy clinic there that our tax money is paying for. It is there BECAUSE the board sees it as a revenue generator, where Ray Reynolds the CEO of Glen Rose Medical Center, admits that it is in another market.
The point of having a hospital district is to collect taxes from citizens FOR the residents of the district, not to be a money-making operation all over Texas.
Worse is when there is a clinic that already exists within another hospital district. That is Pecan Family Medical Center, which is in Pecan Plantation near Granbury in Hood County, Texas. Pecan Plantation is a gated community so you cannot just up and walk or drive in there, as you could with a public clinic. And yet, our Somervell County tax money is going to pay for it, including the lease as well as renovations.
The doctors are already being paid out of Somervell County Hospital District budget, thus are employees of the district (Say, reminds me, why in the fool is Steven Vasick on the board still??) If you lived in Hood County, you would pay ZERO taxes for the hospital district because Hood County Hospital District has a contract with Lake Granbury Medical Center, which is a for-profit hospital, to operate a public clinic for the benefit of its residents (bet there is no gate around that). So WE are paying taxes in another hospital district for people that live in a gated community that pay NO TAXES (and I was actually told one time by the guard at the gate that I should be grateful to Pecan Plantation for having the clinic that would keep the hospital going. Oh, right. Thanks, Mistah)
It's also interesting to me that the various items that Somervell County Hospital District votes on for Pecan Plantation are listed THIS way >>>>>> in the budget, as if somehow none of our tax money is going out for Pecan. It is. Whitsett shows that it's entirely fungible how Pecan Clinic appears in the budget. "Mike likes to keep Pecan separated" and yet he doesn't put ALL the items with revenue and expense in the same bucket even though it's the district that is paying for it.
Steven Vacick shows the problem with picking and choosing items to put in different parts of the budget. "Makes it look like we're losing half a million dollars in the therapy department".
Frankly, in listening to this discussion, I don't know why, 1, the current hospital board didn't ask for a copy of the previous Pecan Clinic report and 2. have someone that knows, at the very least, data and spreadsheets, go LOOK at how the information comes out. Seems to me, being a techie, that there could be a data dump that shows some main criteria, which could then be filtered or resorted according to a second criteria. Overall, really, Somervell County Hospital District CANNOT GET THE NUMBERS TO KNOW FOR SURE WHERE THE MONEY GOES? And yet voted to give Ray Reynolds a raise to $175,000 a year?
The second part of this is, well, if it makes money, doesn't that make it okay? Again, in my opinion, not when the district says it's boundary-driven. There are probably lots of places one could get money to operate the hospital IF ONE WERE A PROFIT CENTER LOOKING FOR REVENUE and to expand the base.
Lubbock Hospital District -every clinic they have is within the Lubbock County borders