May 1st is the deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot for the Salida Hospital District Election where new Directors will be chosen. In 2012 there are 8 candidates running for 2 open seats. What’s the big deal this year? Certainly health care reform, rising costs and reduced provider reimbursements are on everyone’s mind. There has long been an air of mystery about the Salida Hospital District - how property taxes collected fund the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center (HRRMC) and how the Board governs the hospital. With so many candidates running this year, obviously people are not satisfied with just “business as usual”. The hospital does many things very well but cannot be all things to all people and remain on sound financial footing. Hard choices will be made about operations, programs and capital investments. Who will speak for you?
As a primary caregiver, HRRMC is a major employer with a budget of some $60 million. The Salida Hospital District includes all of Chaffee County, Northern Saguache County and Western Fremont County. It’s a big business true, but the Hospital District Board serves at the pleasure of the voters and deserves our close attention.
Despite a big stakes outcome, the District is not required to mail ballots to registered voters/property owners. You have to ASK for a mail in ballot to be sent or take time away to vote in person on May 8th at HRRMC 1000 Rush Drive in Salida or American Legion Hall 338 North Railroad in Buena Vista. With these barriers in place turnout may be very low. Each and every vote is thus truly critical. To get your mail in ballot go to the HRRMC Home Page, click on the “Application for mail-in ballot” button at the bottom center of the page and mail it today to the address shown. There’s only a few days left to do this.
As voters and real/personal property owners you have a major stake in how the District and the hospital are operated. Don’t opt out by not voting or just wait until you are a patient receiving care at HRRMC. Chose candidates for the Board who will reflect your needs and priorities. While there is a large pool of candidates this year and each have skills and an agenda to offer, keep in mind a goal of building a balanced board with broad expertise and a mandate for transparency and community involvement.
Cast your ballot in person by mail, starting now or on May 8th at the polling places.