Do Marco residents want 24/7 health care? Question to be answered Aug. 14

Do Marco residents want 24/7 health care?

Question to be answered Aug. 14

Larry Magel, Marco Island City Council chairman and Jim Riviere, city manager, held a news conference on Friday to discuss the nonbinding referendum at City Hall.

It will be on the ballot as part of the primary election voting on Aug. 14. Absentee ballots went out on Thursday.

The question is not binding, but will go a long way in determining what the City Council might do, Magel said.

The advisory referendum asks: "Shall the City levy an ad valorem tax for the purposes of providing that the proceeds of the ad valorem tax shall be used solely to supplement the costs of maintaining and operating a 24-hour per day, 7 days per week free standing walk-in clinic to be operated by an established full-service hospital system located in Collier County and selected by the City Council after due consideration."

A 0.1 mill of assessed valuation will generate $750,000, according to a city handout at the meeting. For a home assessed at $500,000, it will mean $52 per year. It could be operational in 2013.

Preliminary cost estimates are $750,000 to $800,000 annually. On the handout the MSTU would assess up to 0.15 mils, giving a little more room if needed, Magel said

Naples Community Hospital did not send a representative to the meeting. Dr. Allen Weiss, president and chief executive officer of NCH, said on Thursday that he had sent an email to Riviere indicating that NCH did not plan on sending someone.

He told the Marco Eagle, "We've been serving Marco Island and Southwest Florida with quality care for decades. We would be pleased to respond to a request for a proposal to provide additional services at the Marco Island campus."

NCH has had a health care center on Marco Island since 1984.

Weiss said he met with Marco representatives once, but did not recall it being an in-depth discussion. There has been "a conversation or two."

Physicians Regional Medial Center representatives were in attendance, It not only sent its top people, it also provided a written proposal. To put the icing on the cake it announced it will open a walk-in clinic at the Shops of Marco in early December. Included in their entourage were Scott Campbell, CEO, Ken Warriner, chief financial officer, Dr. David Childress, medical director and Todd Gibson, emergency department director.

In a split vote on June 4 the City council authorized the referendum question.

At one point NCH offered 24-hour care at its walk-in clinic on South Heathwood. NCH trimmed its hours to 11.5 a day six years ago, saying it could not afford to staff the facility when an average of less than two patients came to the clinic in the later hours.

If the city moves forward after a successful vote on the referendum, there will be an additional 5,000 hours of walk-in clinic operating hours for Marco Island residents.

Physicians Regional leaders, who sat at the head table with Riviere and Magel, were not shy about the role they want to play.

"We have dreamed of having representation here, we want to make a footprint on Macro," Campbell said. "We want to be the health care provider of choice."

Physicians Regional's new clinic will have 8,500 square, with 3,500 for a walk-in clinic, he said. It will have primary care physicians, specialists and rehab services.

In the Physicians Regional proposal it said the most significant cost is staff for the additional hours of service. It is estimated it will take an additional $1.1 million annually for salaries and benefits, with another $50,000 for incremental operating expenses, such as supplies.

On-site lab and X-ray services are planned during all hours.

Expected revenue is $400,000, resulting in a net subsidy requirement of $750,000.

Gibson said that 80 percent of Emergency Room visits are non-emergencies, adding that 8 to 10 percent may need hospitalization.

Ambulance service also was discussed, with no answer coming.

After the meeting, Magel said the city council discussed setting aside $400,000 to guarantee an ambulance on the island, but emergency medical services are overseen by Collier County.

"If we spent the money to buy an ambulance it still would be controlled by the county and it would get the revenues," Magel said. "There would be no guarantee that the ambulance wouldn't be called off the island."

The voters get to tell the city council what they want on Aug. 14. Should the nonbinding referendum pass, the funds could be added to the 2013 city budget, if the council moves favorably forward on the issue..

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Comments » 13

Mayor_McCheese writes:

Why do we need a 24/7 walk in clinic? If it were an emergency facility, I'd be all for it. But, since its just a regular Drs. office that is open 24/7, it really serve no purpose other than being available for tourists at the hotels when their children need a prescription they left at home and the Marriott has no one else to call after hours.

Let the hotels pay for it. Add $1 to each night room rate.

ed34145 writes:

More greed on the part of Physician's Regional....trying to make money from the taxpayers. It is not emergency care. There is no need for doctor's office hours 24/7 on the island. What's with this tie between Magel and Physician's Regional??????

gladesgator writes:

The headline is misleading. Do Marco residents want higher property taxes for no reason?

Johnnymarco49 writes:

Oh yes we should spend as much as needed to have a place most of us will never use. To help bring this faster lets offer the doctors city cars, cell phone allowances, bonus programs and ample paid time off from waiting for nobody to come in. Oh wait, city hall has this all wrapped up already...never mind.

ajm3s writes:

Another story from the Eagle! Wow, Mr. Magel and Mr Riviere are really trying to market this program and the Eagle is very good at keeping the story alive.

"The question is not binding, but will go a long way in determining what the City Council might do, Magel said."

That statement from Mr. Magel should scare the majority of residents on this island! Folks, this is just another means to tax all property owners for a private facility operation that is the responsibility of the health industry to serve its patients/customers. Note: from the health industries' perspective, anytime it can get the public to fund a partial operation is another victory for privately operated healthcare industry (both profit and non-profit) to dupe the folks to pay for something that they may not use as well as now if you use it. Interesting, if this dumb "special interest" referendum passes, we would pay NOT only once but potentially twice: once through private health insurance premiums, deductible allowances and co-pays and again, through a special tax based on your property value.

Wow! this sounds like the dumbest proposal to date. God help us to choose better representation. So pay attention in November, because this Chairman and his assistant, Mr. Reviere are truly lacking foresight if this is what they consider a solution to healthcare on this island.

If this non-binding referendum passes it will bind residents to a special tax.

Augggggggggggggggggggggggggggggh! God help us all.

captnjimbo writes:

I mentioned on another article...I am not against a 24/7 but I think it is a private enterprise issue...if Physician's Regional wants to compete with NCH feeder clinic...license them and encourage them...but whats with the city paying for it?

It isn't all that much money...now...but where does it end. If private enterprise can make a buck providing a service the let's support them. How about taxing the citizens to open up a couple new restaurants? I just don't think it is the role of city government.

Doodles writes:

Agreed that the property owner's should not be propping up any short fall that the 24/7 clinic providers may have. The opportunity for them to open a clinic will go a long way for them to drive business to their other ancillary lines (e.g., diagnostics, lab, specialty providers). Sort of like a 7/11 selling gas - gas is the loss leader - foodstuffs, etc are the profit makers. They already think there might be a deficit of $750k+/- for the clinic to operate an addditional 12 hrs/day/7days a week. Where are their numbers as to their expected profit from the ancillary business and the normal operating hours? Let them figure out how to make those numbers float the 24hr clinic concept.

I am all for profit and let them make it where & while they can. If a profit can only be made by 12hr/day clinic then so be it - but do not steal tax payer dollars to pay for private corporation deficits. That is not what local government does (well it does but it shouldn't).

Yes, it would be nice to have an option to ER visit late at night for non life threatening issues but not via public financing.

RayPray writes:

A possible solution would be to establish a 24-hour urgent care center and then recruit JaxLab Junketeer DNA Donna Fiala to 'man' the busy night shift....

marconan writes:

Is this Marco's pathetic version of Obamacare? Should we call it Magelcare or Rivierecare?

Marco residents will be forced to pay a tax so that someone who is out of band-aides at 3 AM can go to the clinic & have their booboo fixed. There's not much more they can treat there that can't wait until regular hours. Even the hospital CEO emphasizes it.

"Campbell and the other hospital officials emphasized that a walk-in clinic is for medical care that's similar to what a primary-care doctor can provide. Walk-in centers can provide X-rays, laboratory work, and treat cuts and other basic medical issues but they don't offer emergency medical care"

Don't dare to go there with a life threatening emergency because you will be wasting your precious time & die there. IT IS ONLY GOING TO BE A DOCTOR'S OFFICE THAT WILL COST US ALMOST A MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR FOR ONLY THE NIGHT SHIFT!!!

Worse yet, instead of calling EMS, someone will mistakenly be taken there with a life threatening emergency & die there. Then the family will be suing everybody including Marco because they were given the impression it was an emergency facility. IF IT'S NOT GOING TO BE AN EMERGENCY FACILITY- WE DON'T NEED IT 24/7 !!! HOW DID WE ALL EVER SURVIVE WITHOUT IT?

The wording of the referendum is misleading - "Shall the City levy an ad valorem tax for the purposes of providing that the proceeds of the ad valorem tax shall be used solely to supplement the costs of maintaining and operating a 24-hour per day, 7 days per week free standing walk-in clinic to be operated by an established full-service hospital system located in Collier County and selected by the City Council after due consideration.

The phrase "to be operated by an established full-service hospital" will be misinterpreted by many voters thinking this will be some sort of emergency facility with full service & because of that this frivolous referendum will get approved & we will have to live with it.

The hospitals are smart enough to know that the night shift in a Marco clinic is unjustified, that's why they won't do it on their own. They will only do it if we are the suckers to pay for it. And since we are going to subsidize private enterprise, why don't we pay Publix & Winn-Dixie to stay open all night just in case I wake up during the night craving a nice piece of steak.

Our "kids in a candy store" Council needs to stop shopping & just take care of the problems we already have.

marconan writes:

Another thing misleading in the referendum wording - what's with the "free standing walk-in clinic" what does that mean? When the Marco South Beach Swale Parkers see this they are going to think there is another thing for free on Marco besides parking & they will all be lining up at the clinic, standing & walking in. They will probably park on the swales while they are there too.

Here's a tip for the Swale Parkers, I know how much you like free stuff & you will thank me for this, if the Kids In A Candy Store (you know who they are) approve the carriage rides on Marco, you will be able to get all the free horse manure that you want.

ajm3s writes:

in response to marconan:

Another thing misleading in the referendum wording - what's with the "free standing walk-in clinic" what does that mean? When the Marco South Beach Swale Parkers see this they are going to think there is another thing for free on Marco besides parking & they will all be lining up at the clinic, standing & walking in. They will probably park on the swales while they are there too.

Here's a tip for the Swale Parkers, I know how much you like free stuff & you will thank me for this, if the Kids In A Candy Store (you know who they are) approve the carriage rides on Marco, you will be able to get all the free horse manure that you want.

I love your perception, especially the "free standing" adjective. I can hear the rebuke from Mr. Magel or Mr. Riviere, that it was to describe a building? If so, why would you need to describe or limit it to a style of building.

My view, this is the kind of crap you get when you rush a referendum because you can save $20K in filing fees, but the quality of the wording is fit for the garbage.

Excellent comment!

marcojerry writes:

Okay here is the deal, NCH is not for profit, Physicians Regional is a private for profit hospital, that means that if you go to NCH the bill is way less than Physicians Regional, so they are asking the taxpayers to fund the private for profit choice? Wow, Rick Scott must be an investor with them since he is turning all the public jobs private and giving big money to his friends that run the private companies. But back to the point, lets look at the NCH Urgent Care on the Island, not right now, but yrs ago when that was not there. The people of Marco, including me, donated money for NCH to build a Hospital on Marco, that Hospital became an Urgent Care Center instead, started off as 24/7 and is now an 8am to 8pm facility. So we paid for NCH to be a 24/7 Hospital and what we really have is a 12 hr Urgent Care Center. Now look at what happened there, after the whole incident they no longer treat anything serious and I wouldn't go there for more than a bee sting. Seriously, we all flipped the bill to pay for one 24/7 place that was a farce and now they are asking us to pay for another? Don't we pay enough? We have paid for a lot of street lights in this economy that are not only expensive, but also raise the city's electric bill. We have more street lights than we even need, when I visit veterans park I see a piled of them new and still wrapped in the parking lot there hidden behind the building next to the parking lot, there is wasted money. Has anyone also noticed all the chips out of the lights at intersections like Kendall and Collier where people have clipped them? So they cost us money and they are a safety hazard too. Seriously, lets not ask the residence to pay for stuff we don't need AGAIN. we didn't ask for street lights but we got them, we didn't ask for another urgent care center, but we are getting them, we seems to get a lot of what we are not asking for and we get to pay the bill for all of it...Just my two cents...

captnjimbo writes:

Some excellent commentary by several. So now here is the next question...if the city of Marco supports another walk in clinic...with tax money...who does it hurt?

Does your primary care doctor need new competition supported by the ciy of Marco Island?

Then the next question might be...is there another way to accomplish extended hours of operation from an existing provider? Just thinking outside the nine dots...the box.

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