A few years ago, Gila Regional Medical Center (GRMC) was facing some serious financial challenges, with a $9 million negative "bottom line" in 2013. Since then, State Medicaid Supplemental Funding to GRMC has been cut from $15 Million to $4 Million annually, with further cuts on the horizon. Additionally, insurance reimbursements continue to decline. "This is indeed the most challenging healthcare environment in modern history, and these kinds of challenges are impacting rural hospitals all over the state and the country," said Brian Cunningham, CEO of GRMC. Cunningham added, "And while we have absorbed these cuts by creating more efficient operations and through growing a number of key services, we have also had a primary focus on delivering the highest quality of care possible for our communities, as evidenced by our recent 4 STAR Quality designation by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Through the hard work of many at GRMC and with the strategic support from the Board of Trustees, the deficit was turned around in 2014 and GRMC has achieved a positive "bottom line" in 2 of the last 3 years. However, with the 11 million dollar decrease in state supplemental funding to GRMC and the ongoing cuts to various insurance reimbursements, GRMC has been challenged to create enough of a "bottom line profit" to comfortably fund the yearly capital equipment needs and building upgrades for GRMC's 30 plus year old facility.
As part of a strategic effort to continue to provide the best possible care to the communities we serve, and as a Grant County-owned hospital, GRMC's Board of Trustees and Leadership passed a resolution requesting the Grant County Commissioners to approve their own resolution which places on the ballot for the November 8th general election, a request to Grant County citizens to support their hospital through a 4 Mill Levy Property tax. This request from GRMC was unanimously approved by the County Commissioners at the Commissioners meeting on August 18th.
A 4 Mill Levy would provide GRMC with approximately $3.3 million a year for four years and then sunset, while GRMC's expected capital equipment and building upgrades over the next four years are estimated at a cost of approximately $5 million dollars per year. As an example, a 4 Mill Property Tax Levy may cost a typical property owner with a $100,000 property approximately $11.00 per month or $66.00 bi-annually, depending on how you pay your property taxes, however this may vary depending on your individual circumstances.
For this support of Grant County's hospital, GRMC will be able to better maintain and upgrade its equipment and facilities to:
- remain current with advances in the medical field
- recruit and retain highly skilled medical practitioners
- help our citizens avoid the costs and lost time of traveling long distances for their basic healthcare needs
- and all funds received will be strictly allocated for capital equipment and building upgrades only, and will be transparently reported to the GRMC Board of Trustees and the Grant County Board of Commissioners
"When you consider the cost of travel to Las Cruces or Albuquerque for Healthcare, including gas, lodging and meals, it is not an unreasonable amount to request from our citizens to ensure that they can receive high quality care right here at home" stated Jeremiah Garcia, Chair of Gila Regional's Board of Trustees.
Cunningham added, "This is not a new idea for Counties in New Mexico as there are already 14 other Counties in New Mexico that support their local hospitals with some form of financial or tax support. Like so many other New Mexico Counties have already done, GRMC is asking the citizens of Grant County to please vote to support this Hospital Mill Levy request for your hospital, to keep your high quality care close to home."
For more Information about the GRMC Mill Levy CLICK HERE