Voters in the five governmental jurisdictions that participate in the Three Rivers Health Authority overwhelmingly supported the ‘transfer of assets’ proposal that was on the ballot Tuesday (November 8th). The voting took place in the City of Three Rivers and the townships of Constantine, Fabius, Lockport and Park.
Unofficial results show that nearly 85 percent (84.55 percent) of those who voted cast “yes” votes – 1160 to 212.
With passage of the proposal, Three Rivers Health will transition from its current “Authority” status under Public Act 47 of 1945 to become a community-owned, nonprofit 501(c )(3).
During a post-election interview with the River Country Journal Tuesday evening, CEO Bill Russell said he was “delighted” with the outcome of the election. He said, “I was reasonably comfortable with a successful outcome in today’s election,” but didn’t expect “a victory of this magnitude. I’m thankful, so thankful, for the leadership of the board who took us down this path. I think it’s the right thing for Three Rivers Health. I think it’s the right thing for the constituents within the authority and I think it’s the right thing for the entirety of the community that we serve. I know that this is going to help us be here, locally owned and locally operated for many years to come so I’m delighted with the outcome of today’s election.” (Bill Russell audio clip – :54)
Passage of the proposal will enable the hospital to take advantage of a loan offer from Southern Michigan Bank & Trust (SMB & T) that will enable Three Rivers Health to retire the debt held by Chase Bank, thus reducing the hospital’s expense by nearly $500,000 a year. Russell indicated that – with voter approval of the ballot proposal – the hospital is moving forward with the SMB & T loan and said he anticipates the refinancing will be accomplished by the end of the month.
Russell said the actual conversion will likely occur in February or March of 2012.
To hear the interview with Bill Russell – conducted by Bruce Snook of the River Country Journal – click on the following link: Bill Russell interview (4:07 – 3:77).