Q: How did the bond measure – Proposition 480 – come to appear on the November 4 general election ballot?
The Maricopa County Special Health Care District Board voted unanimously May 28 to place language on the November 4 Maricopa County general election ballot asking voters to approve an investment of up to $935 million in the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS), Arizona’s only public teaching hospital and healthcare system. This vital healthcare measure will allow us to replace and right-size the outdated hospital in which our physicians, nurses and other medical staff care for our patients as well as teach and train our future medical professionals. The investment will allow us to also:
- Grow medical education to address the critical shortage of medical professionals in Arizona.
- Expand outpatient health centers for primary and specialty care, and train health professionals to deliver that care cost-effectively with improved outcomes.
- Increase behavioral health capacity to meet the community’s overwhelming demand for mental health services.
Q. Who formulated this plan?
The MIHS Bond Advisory Committee (BAC), a 15-member volunteer group, spent months studying the needs of MIHS and conducted extensive public hearings. The panel was chaired by William Post, retired chairman and CEO of Pinnacle West Capital Corp., the parent company of Arizona Public Service. The committee concluded that MIHS’ facilities are insufficient for the organization to meet its voter-mandated mission and 21st century public teaching hospital and health system vision. The BAC voted unanimously on Feb. 12, 2014 to approve the final report with recommendations to the District Board.
Q: What would be the average cost to a homeowner?
The plan requires a potential investment of $935 million. The estimated annual cost to property owners of a 30-year debt service bond tax is $13.74 per $100,000 property value, or $1.15 a month.
Q: Why is MIHS so necessary to our community?
Federal law requires that that all people have access to emergency health care. Maricopa Medical Center is the leading “safety net” hospital for medical services and provides access to high-quality services to everyone in Maricopa County who needs them, regardless of the availability of insurance coverage or economic status. In Fiscal Year 2013, MIHS contributed nearly $161 million in uncompensated care and community benefits back to the residents of Maricopa County. MIHS is not just a hospital, it is an academic training center, a regional provider of primary and specialized medical services, including burn care, a leading provider of mental health services and a driver of new treatments and technologies. As Maricopa County’s only public teaching hospital, MIHS trains more than 400 physicians a year, 75% of whom stayed in the Valley last year after completing their residencies. Annually, MIHS provides more than 3,000 clinical rotations for medical and nursing students, allied health professionals, and the military. MIHS is also an economic engine, employing more than 4,000 people. All these efforts benefit the entire community.
Q: Why can’t other private and not for profit hospitals do this work?
While other hospitals might claim that they could pick up the slack, they have not ever done so. In fact, they supported the formation of the District so they wouldn’t have to. And even if they did, who then would provide the medical education to train the 400+ physicians and 3,000+ nurses and allied health professionals that MIHS does EVERY year? MIHS is on the front lines dealing with the most severe trauma, burn, behavioral health, and infectious diseases in Arizona. Having this patient population under one system provides an unmatched training ground for health professionals in a state that ranks at the bottom of physician supply.
Maricopa County voters mandated the creation of a public teaching hospital and safety net health system for two primary reasons… training physicians and other health care professionals to address the critical medical shortages in our community AND care for the Valley’s most vulnerable residents who have nowhere else to turn.