MILLEDGEVILLE — During Thursday's work session, Oconee Regional Medical Center CEO Jean Aycock requested that the Baldwin County Commissioners place the resolution supporting borrowing of up to $30 million to refinance existing bond debt and provide new monies on the next regular meeting agenda March 5.
Operating through the Georgia Hospital Authorities Law, ORMC asked for a county ad valorem tax pledge not to exceed 3 mills for 15 years. The hospital would like to report progress to bond holders by March 7.
Hospital representation will send a working intergovernmental agreement draft to county attorney David McRee by Monday.
The current bond interest rate is 5.34 percent. ORMC estimates the county tax pledge would drop the rate up to 2 percent, saving the hospital between $300,000 and $400,000 a year.
“We need to borrow your power to reduce this interest rate,” Aycock said.
The net proceeds would be used to call and redeem $24.7 million worth of bonds, pay off a $810,000 BB&T note and fund the acquisition of $4 million in hardware and software upgrades required by the HITECH Act.
“We will use those savings to help offset the millions of dollars in charity and indigent care being provided to Baldwin County citizens,” the ORMC CEO said. “We do not want any money from the tax payers of this county, but we do need assistance with finding solutions for the escalating free care that we are providing for this community.”
ORMC provided $3.6 million of charity and indigent care costs for Baldwin County residents in fiscal year 2012 and wrote off $5.6 million of bad debts for citizens.
This free care has overwhelmed the staff. Savings are a positive step towards addressing this issue.
“It's our vital responsibility to do everything we can as elected officials to make sure that she can service our county,” Henry Craig, District 4, said. “To a large degree the savings she's talking about will go to underfunded indigent care that is vital to our community. If we don't help, who is?”