by Victor Lopez
FORT STOCKTON--Three days after the special election, Pecos County Memorial Hosptial CEO, Russell Tippen's head is still reeling from the blow, "My first reaction was definite shock followed quickly by disappointment. The community has always been so supportive of growth and economic development throughout the whole of Pecos County but this is a definite setback, in my opinion, for the whole community."
By law, a new petition can be refiled within 45 days, but Tippen isn't sure that's the way to go, just yet, "We're going to take our business model back to the Board of Directors Tuesday and put it in front of them and the medical staff. We're going to have to decide how we handle the finances of the hospital and where we're going to go."
According to Tippen, whether the proposal passed or not, an increase in taxes is inevitable. Only this time, the hospital is back under county control, "The people in Pecos County are still going to pay more taxes next year, that's the bottom line. It's just now, instead of having our own entity, we remain part of the county budget."
Even as construction of a new addition is adding to the level of health care to Pecos County residents, Tippen says, they are the real losers in the end. But for hospital staff, it's business as usual, "We came into work Monday morning, the lights were on and the doors were open. We had patients waiting to be seen, so we got busy taking care of them," one staff member said.
As for the hospital district, "For anybody to say that there is another petition floating around is a little premature," Tippen said.
There is good news for Pecos County Memorial Hospital. Construction on their new expansion project is progressing ahead of schedule and under budget. The new facility should be ready to open by late July.