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What hospital modernization means
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Dear Editor,

As chairman of the Effingham County Hospital Authority, I am asking all of the citizens of Effingham County to Support the Effingham County Hospital modernization project.  
Did you know?
By federal law the Effingham Hospital cannot turn anyone needing emergency care away because they do not have the resources to pay for their
emergency care.
Effingham Hospital spent $4.5 million in 2009 for emergency medical care provided to Effingham citizens who did not have the financial resources to pay for that emergency care.
Effingham Hospital only received $3.6 million in tax revenue from the county to offset the $4.5 million spent for uncompensated care.
In 2009 the hospital earned enough revenue to cover 20 percent of the uncompensated care costs for the county.
Without the 2 mills of tax revenue support each year to cover the uncompensated care, Effingham Hospital would not continue to operate and would close.
The modernization project will attract new types of in-patient and out-patient surgical procedures that will increase revenues and help to offset, at a minimum, 60 percent of the uncompensated care costs incurred by the hospital.
The modernization project is estimated to generate over 1,000 additional jobs in Effingham County in the next 25 years which equates to a minimum of over $60 million of personal disposable income to be spent locally.
By obtaining the Build America Bonds from the federal government before December 2010, the Hospital will receive a 35 percent reduction/rebate in their interest rate equating to a savings of approximately $14 million in interest over the 25-year life of the loan.
Without the hospital in Effingham, we will not attract industry to our county which will help us continue to grow and be successful.
The cost of 2 mills, based on a home valued at $100,000 is $80 per year and that the amount you pay for garbage pickup is over $168 per year.
The 2 mills the hospital is asking for is the same amount of support that the county has been providing and will never increase over the life of the loan.
I am personally asking that all of the citizens of Effingham County act quickly and contact your County Commissioners by phone, fax or email to let them know that you support the continuation of providing 2 mills to the Effingham County Hospital to cover uncompensated care being given to our citizens.  Commissioners can be contacted at:
Robert Brantley: 748-7331/        
Myra Lewis: 728-3164/
Reggie Loper: 754-4157/             
Verna Phillips: 826-4931/
Jeff Utley: 754-9031/              
Dusty Zeigler:754-2123/
County fax line: 754-4157
Thank you for your continued support of Effingham Hospital.

Richard R. Rafter
Effingham Hospital Authority