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.”

Local News

LAPAW in dire need of fosters, donations

Local News

Voting machine debate: Conspiracies question integrity of elections

Local News

Heart for volunteerism at core of Care Help for 40 years

Local News

Impairment, speed suspected in fatal crash

Crime

8/14: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

life

SW La. school lunch menus Aug. 15-19

Local News

Texas man dies when Peterbilt crashes

Business

Business, industry thought leaders George Swift and Daniel Groft optimistic about future of SW La.

Informer

The Informer: Mowing pad being created for cable barrier along I-210

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:A busy November in 1966

Crime

Civil rights attorney: Charges in newspaper attack should have been upgraded to hate crime, attempted murder

Local News

Welsh High’s LEAP scores among top in state

life

A grave task: Helping hands clean up, beautify historic Bilbo Cemetery

life

VIDEO: Volunteer work day to beautify Bilbo Cemetery

Crime

8/13: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

life

Lake Charles’ Got Talent: Today’s event pairs local celebrities with Barbe Bluebelles

Local News

Tropical cyclone development remains low across western Gulf

Local News

Portion of La. in Lake Arthur renamed in honor of Fox

Local News

Unrestrained passenger killed in single-vehicle crash

Local News

La. abortion ban holds in court once again

Crime

UPDATE: Husband, wife both charged with molestation, cruelty

life

Classes back in session: Lake Charles Charter begins 12th year

Crime

UPDATE: Reward offered in Oakdale homicide

life

Gerald Sims: A neighborly neighbor that others can count on