West Calcasieu Chamber endorses hospital tax millage renewal

Heather Regan White / The American Press

WESTLAKE — The West Calcasieu Chamber of Commerce has passed a resolution supporting West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital’s tax millage renewal request that will appear on the April 28 ballot.

The chamber unanimously supported the motion, introduced by member Joe Andrepont.

WCCH CEO Janie Frugé told chamber members that the requested 6.95 mills, levied over a 10-year period, will be capped and will be rolled back at the renewal date, contingent upon maintaining 90-100 days of operating expenses through the renewal date. Until last year the WCCH service district millage rate was 9.3, but in December a $25 million bond issue — $10 million levied in 2006 and $15 million in 2008 — expired. Only the 6.95 mills remains. 

The tax is for maintaining, operating and improving the hospital’s facilities. None of the funds will be used for salaries. Frugé said local industry bears about 70 percent of the millage burden.

Several factors have created the need for this renewal, she said. 

Frugé said the privatization of Moss Regional in 2013 created a spike in the level of uncompensated care the hospital was providing.

“We’re talking about patients who are self-paying — meaning they don’t have any private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid,” she said. 

Frugé said the hospital is compensated for only about 50 percent to 60 percent of the charges accrued by Medicare patients. For a Medicaid patient, WCCH receives 10 cents for every dollar charged.

WCCH is a nonprofit, governmental service district authorized by state legislation, she said. 

The hospital service district was created by the Calcasieu and Cameron police juries in 1951, and encompassed all of Wards 4 and 7 in Calcasieu and Ward 6 in Cameron. The five appointees to the first board of directors secured the funds for building the hospital.

In addition to the $325,000 bond issue passed by the voters, they obtained 78 percent of the funds through a federal program known as the Hill-Burton Act.

“They community showed further support for the project with an additional $18,000 contributed by churches and other organizations,” Frugé said. “Just as it is today, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital was a focus of pride for the community.”

Crime

Three injured in Sunday shooting

Business

New trial date set in dispute involving Capital One Tower

Crime

10/3: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Crime

Mitchell convicted in murder of Baton Rouge man whose body was found on DeQuincy road

Crime

Sulphur man accused of sexual battery

National News

Feds vow major aid for Ian victims amid rescues

Local News

Ada O’Quain: Being able to give back has never felt like work

Local News

World War II vet Edward Carter will celebrate a century of life on Tuesday

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Juvenile Justice making news

life

Kiwanis Club of Lake Charles wants this year’s Coats for Kids Drive to be the best ever

life

Walk aims to end bullying in and out of schools

Business News

Venezuela releases 7 jailed Americans; US frees 2 prisoners

Local News

BREAKING: Woman, three dogs killed in Moss Bluff house fire

life

Rosary Around the Lake to be recited in three languages

life

Opening of Community Kitchen celebrated

life

Expect carnival rides, games, food and more at Jeff Davis Parish Fair

Crime

Two female students accused of battery against teacher

Local News

Ian lashes South Carolina as Fla. toll climbs

life

SW La. school lunch menus Oct. 3-7

life

Bourbon, Bacon, Brisket and Brims: It’s an evening of eating, drinking and wearing wild hats

life

McNeese Preview Day set for Saturday

life

PHOTO GALLERY: Stearman Fly-In

Crime

Former CEO of health clinic convicted of Medicaid fraud

Local News

McNeese to offer help with FAFSA applications, present financial aid workshops