Groups of concerned citizens met Monday and Tuesday mornings at the hospital's Health Services Center to hear how $250,000 operating reserve can be raised in order to keep our local hospital open.
At the invitation of BGMH Foundation members, on Monday morning, Brady Myers, a member of the Colusa Hospital board, told how his group was successful in bringing Colusa Hospital out of bankruptcy and back into the black. That hospital, along with Willows Medical Center is now profitable after breaking out on their own, away from corporate ownership.
The quickly planned meetings drew people who are interested in helping the Foundation raise money by personal contact through family members, business associates, etc. The group of volunteers planned another meeting for Tuesday morning to compare lists of potential targeted people, businesses, etc. During this meeting, Gridley resident Stan Potoski expressed his appreciation and need for BGMH as he feels the hospital has saved his life three times, the latest time being Saturday, August 16, 2008. He has enthusiastically joined the group of people who will be out asking for contributions.
It was suggested that to look at the total amount needed, it can be broken down simply into $10 from 1000 people, would be very beneficial, or 2500 residents could give $10 for the total amount needed.
The $250,000 goal, when reached, will be in a restricted fund to return the hospital to local governance. If, by chance, the campaign drive is not successful and should the hospital close, the tax deductible donations would be returned minus any possible administrative expenses.
The $250,000 operating reserve is a small window of opportunity to regain local control, this is just one of the stipulations given by Fremont-Rideout Health Group. In order for control to be given back, it must be cleared by the Attorney General's office, that must be reassured that the community will be well served.
Myers stated that there are a lot of similariities between Colusa Hospital and Gridley's. Their hospital was owned by a five member owned company, that owned four hospitals. Colusa had filed bankruptcy in 2001 and it took three years for the Colusa people to get it back out of bankruptcy court.They needed 3 million to satisfy the bankruptcy court, and raised one million in the first 60 days. Each year, since 2001, the Colusa Hospital has operated with a positive cash flow. Colusa is a smaller town than Gridley with less services available and less people.
He also emphasized the need to accept any amount of donation. "If people want to contribute $5 because that is all they can afford, you accept it graciously. Colusa Hospital had one donor of $100,000 plus they are the county hospital and received $300,000 from the county's tobacco settlements. The City of Williams donated $5000. BGMH was originally built with $100 donations which in today's world equals $1040.
Willows operates in positive cash flow with an average of two patients per day. Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital has an average of 800 ER visits per month, 10,000 per year.
As the second largest employer in town, BGMH employs 150 full time employees, with an average payroll of over 8 million per year. The loss of that 8 million to this community would be significant . BGMH hs the only emergency room on the Highway 99 corridor from Chico to Sacramento.
It's not just the 180 employees counting on this money to be raised, it is every potential patient, every heart attack, stroke victim, every senior citizen and child. It's for us, it's for you, for your loved ones.