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Smart Voter
Hamilton County, OH November 8, 2011 Election
Issue 37
Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal and Decrease)
County of Hamilton

Majority Approval Required

Pass: 161,925 / 68.94% Yes votes ...... 72,948 / 31.06% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis |

A renewal of a part of an existing levy, being a reduction of forty-two hundredths (0.42) mill to constitute a tax for the benefit of the County of Hamilton, Ohio, for the purpose of SUPPLEMENTING THE GENERAL FUND TO PROVIDE HEALTH AND HOSPITALIZATION SERVICES, INCLUDING UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL at a rate not exceeding four and seven- hundredths (4.07) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to forty and seven-tenths cents ($0.407) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for three (3) years, commencing in 2011, first due in calendar year 2012.

Impartial Analysis from League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area
EXPLANATION: A proposed 4.07 mills property tax levy for three years to raise about $40 million annually over the three year levy cycle for care of medically indigent Hamilton County residents at University Hospital (UH) and Children's Hospital. The levy also provides for numerous county department services for indigent care, the largest being the Juvenile Court and Sheriff's inmate medical programs. This levy adds support for St. Vincent dePaul Charitable Pharmacy (SVDP) and funds for the Continuum of Care Homeless Medical Services.

This is a renewal of part of an existing Health and Hospitalization levy due to expire in December 2011 and a decrease of 0.42 mills. If approved, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay about $46 a year, 6% less than currently paid.

The levy was placed on the ballot by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) after it was reviewed by the Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC).

WHAT THE LEVY WILL DO: This levy would provide annually $20.9 million to UH for adult indigent care, and $5.2 million to Children's Hospital for pediatric indigent care. Subsidies to UH would be reduced 19.6% a $5.1 million annual reduction and Children's Hospital by 13.3% an $800,000 annual reduction.

It would provide $100,000 annually for St. Vincent dePaul Charitable Pharmacy for free pharmacy services for qualified clients. It would provide $600,000 total in the third year of the levy for the Continuum of Care for new facilities based medical services for homeless clients. Continuum of Care is a process of coordinated planning and management of programs which serve homeless persons in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

This levy phases out the Sheriff's staffing for inmate medical care over 2013 and 2014. This staffing will be picked up by the general fund or other funding sources. Non-hospital programs would be eliminated or reprogrammed by 17.2% or $6.54 million.

Currently the Health & Hospitalization levy (Indigent Care Levy) provides funds for medically indigent county residents at UH and Children's Hospital and certain indigent care programs. This levy proposal aims to focus on prevention of illness and disease and coordination of medical care. As recommended by the Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC), the County Commissioners will establish a committee to assess progress of providers in meeting specific goals and performance benchmarks re: prevention, coordination and cost-efficiency criteria.

BACKGROUND: First approved in 1966 to reimburse the then University of Cincinnati Hospital for care of medically indigent patients and adding Children's Hospital in 1976, the levy has been renewed for consecutive five year periods. A three year duration for this levy would allow an assessment of the local impact of federal health care reform on indigent health care. This levy would lapse concurrently with the Family Services and Treatment levy allowing for better coordination within each levy.

The proposed levy amount represents a 14.2% reduction from the last levy cycle. The reduction results from property devaluation due to the current economic downturn and reduced millage. Between 2008 and 2011 there was a 7% decrease in real property values in Hamilton County. There has been an increase in the number of people needing public assistance.

TAX LEVY REVIEW COMMITTEE (TLRC) RECOMMENDATIONS: The TLRC recommended the levy be placed on the November 2011 ballot for a three year term. The TLRC recommended levy dollars be focused on preventative care vs. emergency care services and that reporting requirements for levy funded providers be altered to enhance measurement of provider performance. Future Indigent Care Levies primarily should fund health care provided by hospitals or clinics to indigent patients. All dollars raised by the levy should be for legal county residents who have exhausted all other means of assistance, be temporary and promote self-sufficiency.

TLRC recommended an amount of funding between $5.75 million and $6 million per year to Children's Hospital in support of pediatric indigent care. The hospital was commended for emphasis on primary care through clinics and jointly operating a clinic with Cincinnati Health Department (CHD). The TLRC did not recommend funding for CHD.

The TLRC recommended levy funds between $15.5 million and $20 million per year to UH in support of non-pediatric indigent care for county residents with the expectation UH further emphasize primary care including devoting resources necessary to enhance access to that care and pursue administrative cost reductions. The TLRC recommended that levy providers be held responsible in their con- tracts with Hamilton County for achieving specific goals in implementing the levy's new initiatives.

The TLRC recommended phasing out county department services for indigent care with the goal that they be fully phased out by the next levy cycle. The TLRC did not recommend funding for the SVDP. The Continuum of Care request was presented after the deadline for consideration. No recommendations were made. TLRC recommendations are advisory to the Board of County Commissioners.

See the sidebar to find links to the TLRC reports.

  Official Information

Hamilton County Auditor

  • What will this levy cost me? - Information from the Auditor is available for all proposed tax levies in Hamilton County. Go to the website to find your property information. Then click on "Levy Info" on the left side of the page.
Hamilton County Tax Levy Review Committee Board of Elections
  • Am I registered? - Check the Hamilton County Board of Election to see if you're registered to vote.
Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters

News and Analysis

Local 12 Newsmakers

Google News Search Cincinnati Enquirer General Links

Organizations to receive levy funds

Pro and Con websites
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Created: January 20, 2012 12:04 PST
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