Palmdale Regional Medical Center is urging Antelope Valley residents and taxpayers to Vote NO on Measure AV
To be clear: We DO NOT want Antelope Valley Hospital (AVH) to close. We simply believe that Measure AV, like the defeated Measure H from 2018, is not good for taxpayers of the Antelope Valley.
We understand AVH’s need to comply with building regulations but question the size and cost of the plans AVH is proposing as excessive and unnecessary. To help the community understand the future need for beds, we want to work with local elected leaders and the community to finalize a plan for the new AVH hospital which would be appropriately sized for the community. To do this, Measure AV as currently written needs to be defeated.
More Reasons Why Measure AV Needs to Be Defeated:
- Measure AV is asking residents to approve a $350 million general obligation bond, which would contribute toward the total cost of building a new Antelope Valley Hospital. If passed, Measure AV will raise property taxes for residents and local business for the next 30 years.
- Our research has indicated that the final cost for a new Antelope Valley Hospital would significantly exceed the $350 million request in the bond, although this was not indicated in the language of Measure AV. According to experts, the cost of the project could easily exceed $750 million.
- It is still unclear what exactly is to be built. Contradictory information has been presented at AVH’s town halls regarding patient bed numbers, behavioral health and how they will pay for the rest of the new hospital (as the $350 million covers only part of the total cost of the large new hospital).
- Palmdale Regional is against Measure AV because we do not believe taxpayers should be responsible for funding this new hospital through this particular ballot measure, especially if AVH is unable to secure the further funds required for the lavish project they have proposed.
- If the measure does pass and AVH is unable to finish building their new hospital with initial funds, taxpayers could be required to bear the burden of yet another general obligation bond, raising taxes yet again, or worse run the risk of losing the hospital altogether.
- As a taxpayer, Measure AV would require Palmdale Regional to pay millions in taxes in support of AVH’s project.
- Palmdale Regional has funded ALL updates and additions to Palmdale Regional Medical Center without relying on taxpayer money.
Palmdale Regional Medical Center hopes that this information helps clarify our position with respect to Antelope Valley Hospital and our opposition to Measure AV.
The following letter was sent by Richard L. Allen, CEO of Palmdale Regional Medical Center, in response to a letter written by a physician at Antelope Valley Hospital. You can read the physician's letter here →
February 19, 2020
I appreciate you reaching out to us to discuss our differences regarding Measure AV. Palmdale Regional has been, and remains, committed to collaborating with AVHD on a bond measure that would work for the entire Antelope Valley. We are disappointed we were not invited to discuss the specifics of building a new hospital and the bond initiative. Our input would have been valuable considering we are all working towards the same goals.
First, I want to state that no one affiliated with Palmdale Regional wants AVH to close. NO ONE. Palmdale Regional supports the mission and services Antelope Valley Hospital provides our community. However, the reason we are opposed to Measure AV is the project, as presented, has not been strategically well thought out. It will cost taxpayers, including us, hundreds of millions of dollars for a hospital that would be too large for the area and may be in danger of never opening if funding is not properly secured. As pointed out in The Impartial Analysis of Measure AV, “… approval of the Measure does not guarantee the proposed Project will be funded beyond the local revenues generated by the Measure.” If AVHD is unable to secure enough additional funding or exceeds cost estimates, then there is a possibility that taxpayers, including Palmdale Regional, will be forced to pay even more or AVH may actually shut down.
Based on the presentation during the town halls presented by your CEO, he is proposing 428 total beds at the new AVH (including the 78 existing beds at the Women and Infant Pavilion, plus 320 new beds), though there is confusion about the 30 beds for the freestanding Behavioral Health Unit. Will it be built in the future as stated in the town hall PowerPoint presentation? Will there be a gap with no Behavioral Health at AVH? To make the project even more unclear, your CEO has stated in public different bed counts on many occasions that differ from the town hall presentations.
As indicated last summer in our news release, Palmdale Regional plans to build out our hospital to a total of 234 beds. This includes our new labor and delivery program which will open in fall of 2020. Taking this into account, there would be a total of 662 beds (AVH 428 beds and PRMC 234 beds) to serve the Antelope Valley. Based on the most recent data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning, the average daily census in the Antelope Valley was only 346 inpatients for the first six months of 2019, the most recent data available. Additionally, the data also shows a decline in overnight bed use in the region for the past three years. This phenomenon is not particularly unique to the Antelope Valley. Experts throughout healthcare have indicated bed demand utilization per capita nationally is dropping. As technology advances, more and more services are moving from inpatient to outpatient services. So why waste taxpayer money to build something so big that will be unnecessary by the time it is completed?
Instead of building an excessively large new hospital that will go unused even if it is completed, why not examine building a new hospital in the 200-220 bed range including 30 behavioral health beds, that is designed with the ability to attach a new tower in the future, if ever needed? Bigger is not always better and we should work cooperatively to make sure the medical needs of every Antelope Valley resident are met instead of wasting money and resources on extravagant plans.
I know AVHD’s advertising is trying to scare people into believing that AVH will be forced to shut down if Measure AV does not pass. We both know that’s simply not true. If AVH were to right-size and build a hospital that fits with all current predictions about patient need for many years, we know that the State would allow AVH to continue operations while that new hospital is being constructed. Additionally, should the Antelope Valley Hospital ever lose its trauma status, PRMC would work in collaboration with LA County and the American College of Surgeons to ensure trauma services could be retained in the Antelope Valley. I ask that you please stop telling people the sky is falling in order to pass your secretive tax measure.
To reiterate: We do not want Antelope Valley Hospital to close. That is not our intention or our desire. However, we feel that Antelope Valley residents should not have to unnecessarily fund a new hospital that is poorly conceived, could cost taxpayers (including us) much more than proposed and may never actually open.
If the current AV Measure is defeated, Palmdale Regional will work closely with local elected leaders and the community to finalize a plan for the new AVH hospital which would be appropriately sized for the community. In the meantime, we will continue our campaign to let voters know the truth about Measure AV as written.
Richard L. Allen
Chief Executive Officer
Palmdale Regional Medical Center