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Employees Concerned About Munroe Regional Becoming a For-Profit Hospital

Ocala, FL - October 24th, 2012

 See the original post on WCJB TV20 ABC on October 24, 2012

Taxpayers in Marion County have 13 days left to decide whether or not they support an increase in property taxes to keep Munroe Regional Medical Center as a public and not for profit hospital.

The alternative is that the facility could be leased to a for- profit hospital.

On Wednesday I met with some employees of Munroe Regional. Some of them have been there for more than 20 years and others have only been there for less than two years. They all expressed the same concerns about what may happen to Munroe if taxpayers vote no for the bond issue.   

"We are scared. We just want things to stay. We want to keep providing good care to our patients," said Erin McQuillien.

For the past three years McQuillien has spent her work days at Munroe Regional Medical Center, but she's terrified about the possibility of losing her job if the hospital is leased to a private company.

"I believe they may done the line make an out sourcing. I'm in patient accounting so billing an accounting are big targets for that," said McQuillien.

Nothing is final until the taxpayers cast their vote.
The Marion County Hospital District is asking voters for a  $65 million bond issue that will come from increasing property taxes for up to six years, but not to exceed one mill annually.

Vickie Sullivan has worked at Munroe for 20 years. She and other co-workers said their also concerned about services possibly being cut.

"It's going to cost the tax payers about $5.50 a month so $5.50 a month, that's probably gas to Gainesville so you can get your child seen or have your baby. I just think you have to compare what's important to you," said Sullivan.

Community activist Chuck Pardee said  $50 a year could mean a lot to taxpayers.

"I feel $65 million is a lot of money to go to the hospital when they say that it will be a band air fix for two to three years and then they will be wanting some more money from us," said Pardee.

Pardee hopes a private company will end up signing a 40 year lease if voters vote no, but employees are letting taxpayers know that their mission is health care they give to the community.

"The people of Marion County own this hospital. Not some corporation whose priority is to make money. We own it, lets keep it that way," said McQuillien.

Employees said they're scared for their job because they attended a meeting with members of Duke Life Point Healthcare.

They were told their job would be safe for a year if Duke took over, but after a year they would have to re-apply for their position.