May 21, 2024
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I saw a few months ago that Hood County Hospital District is considering actually having the residents that live in Hood County (including of course Pecan Plantation) pay hospital district tax. From the Jan 18 2024 meeting. Also, item 4.11 on the Jan 18 meeting, item 4.8 on the Feb 23, 2024 meeting and item 6.8 on the Mar 22, 2024 meeting. From Hood County News

On Jan. 12, the Hood County Hospital District Board (HCHD) held a three-hour meeting where the possibility of a hospital district tax was presented to Hood County residents. These community members were able to learn more about the potential tax as well as share their input.

Hood County residents have not paid a hospital district tax since 1996. At that time the tax rate was 15 cents per $100 of valuation according to the Hood County Appraisal District. Residents have not had to pay this tax due to a lease agreement negotiated with Hospital Corporations of America in 1996. The agreement called for HCA to pay $15 million to the HCHD to lease the hospital from 1996-2026 with an option to renew the lease for an additional 10 years for $1,000. Community Health Systems, Inc. is now the lease agreement owner.

So, Hood County taxpayers currently (although that may change) pay no hospital district tax and haven’t done so since 1996. BUT Somervell County taxpayers pay for the clinic in Pecan Plantation, which is in Hood County, with Somervell County Hospital District taxes.

Remember this from 2019 where Ray Reynolds, who was then CEO of Glen Rose Medical Center, told a citizen who attended the board meeting that Pecan Plantation Clinic is for residents of Pecan Plantation… in Hood County Note on this link also that money spent on remodeling the clinic Also, from 2013 “How Much does GRMC spend at Pecan Plantation using Somervell County Taxpayer money?

Why is Somervell County Hospital District operating a clinic in a different county’s hospital district? What they are doing it against the law

And, if there is overlapping territory for one district, the other district (most recently created, which in this case would be Somervell vs Hood) “shall exclude the overlapping territory from that district” That would be operating a clinic in another hospital district’s territory.

In fact, when Somervell County residents signed the petition to create a hospital district around 2013, the petition said:

7. The boundaries of the District shall be conterminous the boundaries of Somervell County.

8. NONE OF THE TERRITORY IN THE DISTRICT IS INCLUDED IN ANOTHER HOSPITAL DISTRICT ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF TEXAS.

The idea of a clinic that is outside a district’s territory (and not conflicting with another district) should be that it helps the needy who would otherwise have trouble getting access to healthcare. Back to that HC news article about Hood County Hospital District (here’s where the clinic is for Hood County residents)

Hospital taxes are taxes paid as a percentage per dollar valuation on property. In most counties residents pay this tax to cover the indigent care and care for those in jail. Hood County residents have not paid a hospital tax for some time, this is because the HCHD leased the hospital. December 31, 1996, HCHD made an agreement with Hospital Corporations of America. The agreement paid $15 mil. to HCHD to lease the hospital from 1996-2026 with an option to lease for an additional ten years for just a thousand dollars. The lease is now owned by Community Health Systems, Inc.

So, Hood County Hospital District had an agreement with Community Health Systems where Lake Granbury Medical Center, being a private for profit hospital would operate there and run the indigent clinic and in return, residents pay no hospital district tax. One can just walk up to the clinic in Granbury.

That is not the case with Pecan Plantation Clinic, which is in a gated community and therefore NOT a public facility. Somervell County residents (or Hood County residents that don’t live there, for that matter) cannot freely enter without permission. You think Pecan Plantation wants potential riffraff coming into their community without being buzzed in by security? Even as a resident of Somervell County that is paying taxes for the clinic in a different district, you can’t even go up and get buzzed in to LOOK at the clinic. I’m sure that Pecan Plantation residents are quite happy to be in their private gated community with special service where they do not pay a cent in taxes to maintain it and maybe we should all be thanking Michael Honea and the hospital board for the privilege of paying for the clinic and doctors for the rich, at OUR expense, not theirs. (At one point in 2016, ridiculously, SCHD tried to hold a public meeting in Pecan Plantation, even though the public from Somervell County would not have been able to freely go to it.)

I was looking at the 2024 budget, which is not very specific, and at least in this years iteration, there is no breakdown for the public on how much money Pecan Clinic actually brings in or a P/L statement specifically for that. This is from 2016 from a budget meeting of SCHD. Question is, are they still doing that? Apparently so, but honestly, why not? Why should not the information about Pecan Clinic which is NOT in Somervell County Hospital District not be broken out?

Interesting to note this audio from 2013 in which one of the board members said that they needed to break out the Pecan figures and track them. The person discussing this with then CFO Michael Honea may have been confident that there was no tax money being spent there (gee, that doesn’t sound right-what about the lease not to mention the doctors salaries who only are at the clinic, midlevels, and remodeling, medical equipment, etc) but didn’t know for sure and thought it should be accounted for and tracked. At some point Somervell County Hospital District, which has already maxed out the taxes as high as they can go without an election, are going to come on the beg to residents to raise the tax. Shouldn’t they have to explain and justify Pecan clinic expenses. I mean, who knows how much of what the hospital is actually taking in is due to that or if it’s losing money? We do not know and when Honea does not provide an accounting that breaks it down, one has to wonder why.

Here is a complaint I did to the sheriff’s department back in 2013

Adding that the way to resolve this issue is for the County Attorney to do a request for an opinion from the Texas Attorney General AND, although it has been suggested at a previous board meeting, no one has even tried to do some kind of intergovernmental LEGAL agreement with Hood County about operating there.

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