No Hospital District
By Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader
A large number of early voters cast their vote for an overwhelming against for the Hospital District told the story for the outcome of the election.
With a total of 5,622 ballots cast during the early election, one ballot was left blank according to the early voting information supplied buy the Orange County Elections Administration. A majority of the voters, in the early ballots, voted against the district.
With 1,253 votes for the district and with 6,342 voting against the proposition in the final tally, the hospital district did not pass.
If approved, the county would have formed a Hospital District which could have included a new tax rate of up to 18-percent. Orange County Commissioners Court would have selected a committee of five members for the first term of the committee.
A hospital has been a hot topic in the area and on social media when the court held a Town Hall meeting earlier in the year to discuss options after Baptist Hospital closed down the Emergency Room section of the hospital in January 2017.
All emergency services were discontinued effective January 12, 2017. In recent years, the hospital closed the inpatient services, out patient services and the maternity ward.
A year ago, in Nov. 2016, the City of Orange as steps in steps move forward in establishing a Veterans Administration Hospital facility in Orange, the need for non-military citizens is also being addressed as the council agreed to hire a consultant to focus on the needs of the community. Other entities in the county agreed to contribute to the funding of the NewLight Market Study. A study, which provided figures such as the number of beds, needed, the cost to build a hospital and optimal locations for such a facility.
A study by the firm included a demographic/service needs assessment for the area, which also outlined the income profile of residents within the area. Such a report also shows the actual medical expenditures regional hospitals in the area are benefiting from local patients.