What is Measure F?
By Barbara Truitt,
Measure F is a request to voters to levy a new $125 parcel tax to replace the $125 tax expiring June 30th that we’ve been paying for the past 10 years.
What does it say, exactly?
Shall the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District renew its current $125/year parcel tax for ten years without any rate increase or added cost to residents, providing approximately $1.5 million annually to benefit the local community by maintaining access to emergency medical care, support hospital and medical services, and attract and retain qualified doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals, with annual independent audits to assure proper use of funds?
For the full text of parcel tax Measure F, click here.
Why do we need it?
The fact is, due to economies of scale, rural healthcare costs more to deliver than urban healthcare, just as it costs Chautauqua more to stock its shelves with groceries than Walmart pays. In addition, we must accomplish additional earthquake retrofits (unfunded mandates) estimated to cost upwards of $750,000 in the next two years.
Local citizens Dee Nelson, Jim Quast, Peter Stern, Maggie Carey, and Barbara Kennedy all agree upon the following:
“Whether you live in nearby Garberville-Redway or farther away in Shelter Cove, Whitethorn, or elsewhere in Southern Humboldt, 24-hour access to emergency medical care and hospital services is critical, especially in emergencies like car accidents, accidents that happen at home or work, and serious medical issues like heart attacks or strokes.
Measure F is essential, providing funding to maintain existing medical services in Southern Humboldt. Measure F will renew the current parcel tax for ten years without any increase or added cost to residents and taxpayers.
Like many rural areas in California, local emergency medical care services and local hospitals are dependent on community support. Without the funds provided by Measure F, our community will not have 24-hour emergency care, and eventually we will lose critical medical services essential for many residents.
Measure F will maintain local access to emergency room care, hospital care, laboratory services, physical therapy, CT, x-ray, mammography imaging, visiting nurses, and other important healthcare services, particularly for seniors.
Every penny from Measure F will stay in our community to benefit the local community, with annual independent audits to ensure the funds will be spent as cost-effectively as possible.
Measure F is essential to continue to attract and retain qualified doctors, nurses, technicians and other healthcare professionals who provide emergency care to local residents.”
Why do the earthquake retrofits?
If we don’t comply with mandated earthquake retrofits by the state’s deadline, we’ll lose our certification (sort of like the business license every store in town has to maintain), and then we won’t get paid for our services by the state, the feds, or private insurers.
Even though our small, single story, wood framed hospital is not likely to collapse, we may have internal infrastructure failures that would prevent continuation of services.
Here are former SHCHD Board member and Disaster Preparedness Team member Gary Wellborn’s views on this issue:
“Even though our small, single story, wood framed hospital is not likely to collapse, we may have internal infrastructure failures that would prevent continuation of services.
Garberville and Redway sit on top of a small field of earthquake fault lines and are about 100 miles from one of the largest subduction faults in the world. The Cascadia fault erupts about every 300 years. The last Cascadia earthquake was in the year 1700. When, not if, this fault erupts, it could be as high as a 9.0 earthquake. A modern earthquake-compliant facility will be able to provide emergency services when we need them the most.”
Isn’t there a fairer way to tax?
For special districts in unincorporated areas, taxing methods are very limited. We cannot levy a sales tax, an income tax, a tax on every citizen, nor a tax based on the assessed value of the property.
We do, however, offer taxpayers credits equal to the taxes they pay through a voucher for services we provide. The vouchers offset deductibles and copays and contribute to the charges those who have no insurance pay; the District receives payments from the state, federal and private insurers.
How can we get more information?
District board members, staff, and volunteers are eager to answer your questions. Invite us to speak to your community organization or weekly poker group. Host us at your house or VFD, so we can answer your and your neighbors’ questions.
Email me at email@example.com or call us at 923-3921 to schedule a speaking date.
Barbara Truitt, Former Foundation Director and Outreach Dept, Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District