Greene County officials are considering stopping the collection of taxes for two Greene Memorial Hospital levies, which together bring in about $3.5 million a year, because the hospital is no longer offering certain services.
Greene County commissioners passed a resolution on June 25 demanding Kettering Health Network, which owns the hospital, reinstate services it had discontinued at the hospital by Sept. 1. A representative from Kettering Health told the board last week those services, the intensive care unit and surgery center, would not be reinstated.
Brandon Huddleson, Greene County administrator, said the commissioners could choose to serve a notice of early termination of the levy agreements and ask the Greene County Budget Commission to stop levying the tax. Huddleson said that decision needs to be made by Oct. 1 and would need to be a formal resolution.
“It’s a tough decision,” Huddleson said. “The commissioners understand the value of a hospital in Xenia. It would be detrimental to see that hospital closed. They will do anything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Greene Memorial Hospital did not renew its Level 3 Trauma designation in 2019, closed its intensive care unit in February, and closed its surgery center in March.
Kettering Health closed the ICU because it said the doctor group that covered the unit left. Patients who now need intensive care unit care can’t stay at the Xenia hospital and will be taken 12 miles away to Soin Medical Center in Beavercreek.
Greene Memorial Hospital President Rick Dodds previously told this newspaper that in order to continue to provide ICU services, it was necessary for it to consolidate with Soin.
The surgery and ICU averaged 1.8 people per day at Greene Memorial Hospital, with no patients some days, Terry Burns, CEO of Kettering Health, told the board at the commissioners at Aug. 27 work session.
At that work session, Kettering Health representatives said their goal for the next nine months is to stabilize operations and remain sustainable. Before June 2021, the health network plans to make minor updates to the facility, to “move to a sustainable operation” and understand what other options there are for the levies, according to minutes from that meeting.
This includes building a new facility in Xenia in the future, said Jimmy Phillips, director of network marketing and communications for Kettering Health Network, in an emailed statement.
Phillips said this project will provide “sustainability for decades to come,” and added that the current Greene Memorial Hospital building can’t accomplish this without major financial investments.
While there are no more planned reductions at this time, it could happen, Burns said.
“In late August, Kettering Health Network leaders met with the Greene County Commissioners to transparently discuss questions, concerns and future plans for the health care needs of the community. As we have done throughout this process, we continued to stress our full commitment to the communities of Xenia and Greene County,” Phillips said in the statement. “Over the past few months, we have been candid with the commissioners regarding the decisions that have been made and emphasized that there is no sustainable path to reinstate trauma, ICU and surgery services.”
Phillips said the network has taken great lengths to “ensure that we are upholding levy language that has been approved by voters and related agreements with the commissioners.”
“We have carefully reviewed the levy and our levy agreements and have reaffirmed our full compliance,” Phillips said. “In what has been a year unlike any other, we are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve our communities and immeasurably proud of the heroes that give their time and talents to care for those in need. We look forward to continuing this service for many years to come.”
The hospital uses the levy to cover operating losses, Burns said at that Aug. 27 meeting.
Burns said even with the levy funding, Greene Memorial Hospital lost $6 million last year. The other Kettering Health sites subsidized Greene Memorial Hospital in 2019.
About 5.8% of Greene Memorial’s operating expense was paid for by the levy in 2019, according to the latest financial report provided to the county. The hospital also reported $7.2 million in uncompensated and indigent care provided. The report, filed Jan. 30, states the hospital relied significantly on levy dollars in 2019 to cover charity care and operating expenses.
In 2018, Greene County voters renewed a five-year, .5-mill levy that will generate $1.75 million a year to support Greene Memorial Hospital. The levy costs homeowners close to $14 a year for every $100,000 value of property, according to the county auditor.
Voters also renewed a .5 mill levy in 2016. That levy will be collected on through 2021, unless the commissioners decide otherwise.
Greene County commissioners have said they believe these changes are inconsistent with the terms agreed on when the levy passed. Kettering Health has maintained that the Greene Memorial Hospital is still a hospital without those services. Huddleson said the current services at the hospital are not what voters said they would fund.
The levies provide funds for services including stroke and cardiac care, rural health centers, satellite health facilities, women’s health services, emergency room equipment and cancer care.
Huddleson said the 2016 levy will be up for renewal next year. He thinks the board will have a tough time putting a renewal on the ballot with services having been removed from Greene Memorial Hospital.
Kettering Health Network will open a $70 million expansion at the Indu and Raj Soin Medical Center, which includes a new patient tower, next week. The five-story tower adds about 170,000 square feet to the Beavercreek hospital and is the largest current health care construction project in the Dayton area.
History of Greene Memorial
1951: Greene Memorial Hospital opens in Xenia
2010: Greene Memorial Hospital becomes part of the Kettering Health Network
2018: Greene County voters renew levy
2019: Greene Memorial Hospital did not renew its Level 3 Trauma designation
February 2020: Greene Memorial closed its intensive care unit
March 2020: Greene Memorial closed its surgery center
June 2020: Greene County Commissioners pass resolution demanding that Greene Memorial reinstate those services by Sept. 1
August 2020: Kettering Health officials and Greene County Commissioners meet to discuss the situation, Kettering Health says services will not be reinstated
Oct. 1, 2020: Commissioners will make decision on whether or not to continue collecting on the two levies