BEATRICE – The Marysville, Kansas Hospital wants the public to have the chance to decide the issue of potential tax support, for the health care provider.
Community Memorial Healthcare is asking for public support to place a county-wide sales tax on the November ballot, in support of the hospital.
CMH will have to gather at least 350 signatures of citizens, then submit the petition to the Marshall County Board of Commissioners prior to the end of June.
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Community Memorial Healthcare CEO Curtis Hawkinson says the hospital recorded an operating loss of $1.5 million in 2017, mostly due to providing uncompensated care, but also from a reduction in Medicare reimbursement under Congressional cutbacks in 2012.
Kansas is one of nineteen states that have not expanded the Medicaid program to cover more uninsured low-income patients.
It’s not the first time the Marysville hospital has asked the county commissioners to put a sales tax question on the ballot. Two prior attempts have failed, in 2016 and 2017. Both times, a motion before the board failed to gain a second.
If a sales tax proposal goes before voters and is approved, a half-cent tax would affect all purchases in Marshall County beginning January 1st, of 2019…for a ten-year time period. It is projected to raise about $650,000 in annual revenue.
Hawkinson says more than 85% of rural hospitals in Kansas receive either sales tax or property tax support. Hospitals in Onaga, Clay Center, Nemaha County and Washington County are among them.
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Hawkinson says the non-profit hospital, by law, can tap sales tax to raise additional money to help support Community Memorial.
:17 “their rural hospitals”
The Marysville hospital still raises support from corporate memberships in the hospital, which begin at $100. Corporate members get to vote on hospital issues and bylaws.
Community Memorial Health Care is among the largest employers in Marshall County, with about 200 on staff.
Hawkinson says the online petition can be found at www.cmhcare.org. Paper petitions are also being distributed. He says the hospital will be on the agenda of the county commissioners toward the end of June.