Is the County Loaning BHC Money?

I've recently been asked by community members how much money the county is loaning or giving the hospital and nursing home. This is a great question.

The county isn't loaning the hospital any money but there has been support by the taxpayes through property taxes as well as county participation in federal and state funding programs (PILT & DPHHS-IGT).

When the nursing home closed and the hospital nearly closed in 2012, the State Bank of Townsend gave a $400,000 loan to Broadwater County to help the hospital. The first two payments were made from PILT funding. "Payments in Lieu of Taxes" (PILT) are Federal payments to local governments that help offset losses in property taxes due to non-taxable Federal lands within their boundaries. PILT is a program created in 1976 to offset costs incurred by counties for services provided to the public. These include education, law enforcement, health care, solid waste disposal, search and rescue, fire fighting and other important services. Since those first two payments made with PILT funding the hospital has been making the subsequent payments on its own, with a final payment due in October of 2017.

Also benefitting the nursing home was the county commissioner's approval to participate in a state program with the Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS) called Intergovernmental Transfer (IGT). The federal government has an agreement with DPHHS where they will match county money for licensed nursing homes in rural and low income areas. They do this because Medicaid does not cover the full cost incurred to meet the strict state regulations to run licensed nursing homes. If our county agrees to participate, then every dollar the county gives DPHHS the Federal government agrees to match with 38 cents. DPHHS will then give the full amount to the nursing home to cover the financial shortfall of accepting Medicaid payments. Our nursing home went two years unable to participate while we fought to get our license back. Broadwater County now has a five star licensed facility and we can participate again. Without the program, our nursing home might not be financially viable. These past two years PILT funds have been used to participate but a mil levy or general fund could be an option in the future.

 There is currently a voter approved mil levy for the hospital district that will term (run out) in 2017. This is a three year tax levy that totals $170,000 a year. That dollar amount equals 40% of the uncompensated charity care provided to our community (care provided by BHC but not paid for). When people pay their taxes, it goes into a fund, the hospital district board then holds about $70,000 in reserve for any surprise repair and the remainder is used to cover specific needs of the hospital.

Not including the mil levy, the hospital and nursing home have benefitted from the county's support over the last three years in the following way:

 Pa id to  Amount  For  Funds
 2013  The State Bank of Townsend  $61,736  Payment on 2012 loan in County's name  PILT
 2013  Hospital District  $200,000  Support for shortfall for uncompensated care  PILT
 2014  The State Bank of Townsend  $60,504  Payment on 2012 loan in County's name  PILT
 2015  DPHHS  $203,138  IGT matching program for Nursing Homes  PILT
 2016  DPHHS  $250,000  IGT matching program for Nursing Homes  PILT


Stay tuned for the next article where I will discuss how the dollars in the chart above are devoted. I can proudly share that the hospital has had its 7th month of positive cash flow, every loan is current, and we are working diligently to pay off debt. BHC continues to explore ways to improve out services and meet the needs of our community. We are here to serve you, our neighbors and our friends and your support and feedback is important. Please call or come visit anytime with questions, comments or concerns. You can reach me personally at 406-266-3186 Ext. 108.

Jenny Clowes, August 2016