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Cant afford not to modernize hospital
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Dear Editor,

Access to quality health care is an important component of a healthy, growing community. There has been a lot of discussion regarding the Effingham Hospital’s modernization project and their request for continued funding of indigent/uncompensated care from the county. Currently, there are 2 mills of county taxes allocated to the hospital to help with indigent and uncompensated care. I, like a lot of people, would like to see my taxes lowered but not at the expense of losing our local hospital. In reviewing my tax bill I observed that I pay almost as much to have my trash picked up as I do in hospital tax. When you look at it that way, the amount paid in hospital taxes is an insignificant amount considering the services the hospital provides to the community.

There is also an economic component to having a modernized hospital. In order to effectively attract new business and industry to our community, we must have the presence of a quality health care facility. Health care is one of those checklist items that potential businesses and industries evaluate when considering investing in a community. The modernization of the Effingham Hospital will not only help with recruitment of new businesses and industry, it is also expected to create close to 70 new jobs in our county. These are jobs that will be created due to the expansion of the hospital and don’t include the jobs created during the construction and modernization phase.

Supporting the modernization of the hospital has less to do with whether the taxpayer should help pay the bill for indigent/uncompensated care; it has more to do with whether we as a community want local access to quality, up-to-date health care. The bigger question to answer — do we as a community want to be forced to drive to Savannah to access quality health care, or do we want it closer to home where it is often a life saving service?

Michael S. King

Editor’s note: King is a candidate for the Effingham County Board of Commissioners’ District 2 seat.