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