On June 16, 2022, the El Paso County Hospital District went before the El Paso County Commissioners Court to seek a certificate of obligation bond for $345.7 million to strengthen Capacity for Care at University Medical Center and El Paso Children's Hospital.
UMC is El Paso’s only safety-net hospital, meaning the hospital provides care to ALL who come to it. And, EPCH has been highly successful in allowing children to stay in El Paso for treatment.
Because of the region’s growth and the fact that more people choose to come to UMC and EPCH for specialized services and the level of care, these facilities have an urgent need for capacity expansion.
University Medical Center and El Paso Children's Hospital both need more capacity.
There are five distinct needs that the District is hoping to remedy via a Certificate of Obligation.
Expansion of Critical Care Beds
Surgery Capacity Care Expansion
BOTH IN THE HOSPITAL AND FOR OUTPATIENT CARE
Neighborhood Health and Urgent Care Center
IN CENTRAL EL PASO
Children’s Inpatient, Surgery, and Emergency Department
Comprehensive Cancer Center
UMC and EPCH offer a number of very specialized, unique services in our community that have resulted in an increase in patients who choose to come to these hospitals to handle complex medical conditions.
If the Certificate of Obligation is approved and issued
in October 2022, you would pay the following:
From 2023 to 2032
per year or
$4.32 monthly for every $100,000 of property valuation.
From 2033 to 2047
And is reduced to:
per year or
$2.17 monthly for every $100,000 of property valuation.
This increase will not only provide more and better healthcare for our community, it will increase higher-paying jobs at UMC and EPCH - estimated at an additional 400 jobs.
These capacity initiatives will create approximately 850 construction jobs, not including the feeder businesses from this construction.
These building projects will infuse approximately $38,500,000 into our local economy.
FOR El PASO REGION
This initiative will bring healthcare options that El Pasoans currently do not have, while improving capacity for their current care.
Waiting to address these issues will not alleviate the current, urgent needs of UMC and EPCH. Plus, a CO will be less costly than a GO.
Capacity needs existed before now, but the increase in patients, services, and care has made the needs significantly worse today. Keep in mind that for the past two years, both hospitals have been handling the needs of El Paso County’s battle against COVID-19, including administering over 360,000 vaccines.
With the current environment of rapid interest rate increases and rising costs, waiting until a public vote can be held and adding the necessary lead-time for preparations, acquisitions, construction, and equipment purchases will cost the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars more.
University Medical Center and El Paso Children’s Hospital both need more beds. Examples of these needs are that UMC, on any given day, has more critical care patients than available beds. And EPCH has been highly successful in reducing the number of children having to leave El Paso for necessary care.
UMC and EPCH offer a number of very specialized, unique services in our community that have resulted in an increase in patients who choose to come to these hospitals to handle complex medical conditions. A few examples of this type of care include:
UMC is El Paso’s only safety-net hospital, meaning the hospital that provides care to ALL who come to it. Unlike for-profit hospitals, UMC has a responsibility in our County to care for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay. EPCH plays a vital role in the healthcare safety-net by supporting programs that benefit the uninsured and underinsured pediatric population in El Paso County.
There are five distinct capacity needs that the District is hoping to remedy via a Certificate of Obligation. They are:
1. Expansion of Critical Care Beds.
Prior to the pandemic, UMC had less than seven critical care beds available on a daily basis. At the same time, UMC was trying to admit 11-14 new patients. During the pandemic, the situation was worse. In June and July 2022, there were many days in which UMC had more than 60 critical care patients waiting for a critical care bed.
2. Surgery Care expansion, both in the hospital and for outpatient care.
UMC needs an additional nine operating rooms. Three of those would be in the hospital, and six would be in an outpatient surgery center. These operating rooms will include:
3. A Neighborhood Health and Urgent Care Center in Central El Paso.
El Paso’s Central/Mission Valley area has the highest number of seniors of all of El Paso’s regions. Eighteen percent of this area’s residents are age 65 or older. This urgent care center would be one of few urgent care centers in the 79905, 79915, or 79907 zip codes.
4. Children’s Inpatient Surgery, and Emergency Department.
El Paso Children’s Hospital services the sickest children in El Paso. Children with complex or multiple health issues require a team of providers across specialties to treat their problems. EPCH has the most robust staff of pediatric specialists in El Paso.
5. A Comprehensive Cancer Center.
El Paso is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. that does not have a comprehensive cancer center within a two-hour drive. Addressing this gap will be a multi-year effort to ensure high quality and coordinated cancer services are available in El Paso.
There is no doubt that a number of longer-term health consequences could affect El Pasoans, but the immediate consequences are:
If the bond is issued in October of 2022, then a taxpayer could expect to pay the following:
For the first ten years, 2023 to 2032:
$51.80 ($4.32 monthly) for every
$100,000 in property valuation
For 2033 to 2047 the rate drops to:
$26.00 ($2.17 monthly) for every
$100,000 in property valuation