VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A proposed bill could eliminate the West Volusia Hospital Authority, a medical taxing district in Volusia County.
The board that allocates $20 million in taxes annually to health care providers will meet Thursday evening to discuss the proposal.
Several board members said the district funds groups that provide critical medical services to the poor, including health screenings and HIV testing.
Others have said special taxing districts are nothing more than a slush fund with no accountability.
The board’s commissioner, Dr. John Hill, said there is little accountability.
“The services are a duplication many times,” he said. “The accountability is extremely poor, and in terms of really effectively helping people that need care, we are not doing that.”
State Rep. Anthony Sabatini is pushing a bill to eliminate the district.
Commissioners Judy Craig and Dolores Guzman told Channel 9 that they fear important programs will end.
AdventHealth is the largest benefactor of the hospital taxing district, receiving $5.6 million per year.
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Records show the nonprofit made almost $11 billion in revenue in 2018 through its 52 hospitals nationwide.
Almost 20 years ago, the board reached a deal with a hospital previously known as Florida Memorial to run its DeLand hospital because the board could not cover the hospital’s expenses.
The three commissioners with whom Channel 9 spoke said they are pushing to review that contract when it expires next year.
“Why do they need an extra $6 million from us here in Volusia County?” Channel 9 reporter Mike Springer asked Hill on Thursday.
“They don’t need an extra $6 million, and they know that,” Hill said. “We’ve discussed that. I’ve discussed that with them in detail. And they don’t receive that money in another district.”
An AdventHealth spokeswoman provided Channel 9 with the following statement:
“The communities of west Volusia County have benefited from the support of the West Volusia Hospital Authority (WVHA) for more than 20 years. The funds provided via the WVHA to support low-income and uninsured patients means there are more resources available to help enhance care for all patients. This includes additional investments in new technology, physicians and services that allows our community to have access to quality care close to home. We look forward to continued partnership with the WVHA as we work together to improve the health of our community through key services.”
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