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Hospital funding vote planned in Pawhuska

Daisy Creager
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska residents will decide in a January vote the fate of a proposed 1-cent sales tax to benefit Pawhuska Hospital.

The proposal, approved by the Pawhuska City Council to be put to a citywide vote, would raise $448,00 annually for the nonprofit hospital. Hospital board members told the City Council continued operations of the 25-bed hospital are not at risk, but the funding would provide financial flexibility needed to ensure long-term operations.

Currently funded through private pay and reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid, the hospital turned to the city because it needed a stronger revenue stream to apply for grants needed to expand the facility, hospital Board Member Ben West said.

“Through the federal government we can apply for building grants to build new buildings or add services, but we had to have some help from the city, the county or the state,” West said.

The tax will not fulfill the hospital’s needs, but the grants the board plans to apply for would help fill the gaps.

“Currently our hospital is full. We don’t have any room to expand at this point and we’ve got some services we need to expand, like our outpatient physical therapy,” West said.

"We're grateful to the city for putting this up to a vote of the people. Hopefully it'll be successful and pass and we can move on down the road."