County hospital won't be up for bond vote in November

July 20, 2012

Maricopa County residents will not be voting this fall on a tax to replace the county’s 40-year-old hospital. The Health Care District Board of Directors decided this afternoon to postpone any decision for at least a year.  KJZZ’s Al Macias has more.

Maricopa Medical Center is located at 24th Street and Roosevelt in Phoenix. (Photo by Al Macias - KJZZ)

AL MACIAS: The Maricopa Medical Center opened in 1969. The hospital, like many of the patients it serves, is in critical condition. Betsey Bayless is the hospital’s CEO. She says it costs $30 million a year just to keep up with the repairs.

BETSEY BAYLESS: We’ve done everything we can to clean it up, to renovate it, to make it look good, but it is very old. It has asbestos. It was not designed to be a state of the art hospital.

MACIAS: Bayless had urged the hospital board to put a bond proposal on the November ballot to pay for a new hospital and other renovations. Instead, the board opted for an advisory commission that will study the needs for a year and make recommendations to the board.  The CEO worries about when the day may come that repairs just aren’t enough.

BAYLESS Most of the air handlers are original from 1969, as well as the plumbing. Every now and then, every few years we have a big flood and it costs us a lot of money to retrofit that and so forth. So I guess the answer is I don’t know. I hope it’s not this summer.

MACIAS: She says the construction timeline for a new hospital if and when it is approved, could take up to seven year to complete.

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