Marshall County voted to renew a one percent sales tax to provide funding for its county hospital on Tuesday evening with 748 of the 1,136 ballots in favor of the measure, according to the unofficial numbers .
The tax ensures the hospital can move forward with planned improvements and renovations, as well as continue to care for indigent patients. The tax, originally enacted two decades ago, will stay in effect for the next 10 years.
“We have a couple of longterm plans,” Keith Long, vice president of the Board of Control, said. “Again, we’ll probably have to have a meeting or two.”
The board has plans to build 25 new patient rooms and convert the old rooms into rooms for outpatient visits and consultations.
“Some of them don’t even have bathrooms and showers in the room,” Long said. “People have to walk down the hall.”
The hospital’s emergency room, while up to modern standards, has accessibility issues they intend to correct as well.
“Right now, people have to walk through the lobby to get to the emergency room,” Long said. “We’re going to change that.”
Long said the board will meet with AllianceHealth and architects to think of practical solutions to the issue. Accessing the emergency room is difficult for ambulances from the outside.
Long said the hospital’s surgery suites are also somewhat outdated due to their smaller size. He said once they’re renovated, surgeons from other hospitals would be able to perform surgeries on site, so patients won’t have to travel as far for care.
“They’re already doing outpatient procedures, but if we can update those rooms, doctors from Ardmore and maybe even Durant could come,” Long said. “We might even get a surgeon on staff, but that would be a really longterm goal.”
Long said the board also attempts to look forward and plan for what the community’s needs might be 10 years from now. That includes possibly purchasing a dialysis machine for the facility.
“There’s a lot of people with diabetes who need the dialysis treatment,” Long said. “Usually, one of the side effects of diabetes is the kidneys don’t function as they should.”
Funds from the bond will also go toward the Marshall County Health Plan’s overarching goals.