Granby medical campus backers seek $19.5 million federal loan
A Grand County entourage left for Washington, D.C., Tuesday night to gain preliminary approval for a federal loan for the proposed medical campus in Granby.The $19.5 million Housing and Urban Development (HUD) loan would be a significant boost to the project, health officials say, and because of the proposed campus rural location, its considered a strong candidate for the loan. One of (HUDs) goals is rural development, and they understand what an important influence a strong health care system has on the local economy, said Dorri Penny, executive director of the Grand County Rural Health Network. The Network is in line to own the new facility. Although Grand County Rural Health Network Chairman Carl Marsh sounds hopeful, Its not a lock, he said. Well have a strong indication after the meetings with HUD this week.According to Marsh, the loan would mean taxpayers are not on the hook for everything.With such a loan, the burden is not on Grand County or its taxpayers when guaranteed by the federal government. The money is raised through bond sales.The loan would pay for the bulk of the $23 million campus, and the remainder of the cost of the campus is to be covered by grants and fundraising, according to the Rural Health Network.The meeting in Washington, D.C., is a pre-application meeting where the loan, critical to the construction of the new campus, will be reviewed for preliminary approval. Final approval is expected by year-end.The medical campus is set to be completed in early 2010 with construction starting early in 2009. This new medical campus, when built, will represent the realization of one of our major health care goals in Grand County, said Marsh, a local pharmacist. This new facility will provide improved, expanded and convenient health care for Grand County citizens, bringing new services to the east side of the county.Studies have shown that county citizens spend well more than half of all health-care dollars outside Grand County. An independent market assessment completed by the Kremmling Memorial Hospital District demonstrates the growing need for expanded services in the Granby area, according to the Network.Other important factors for HUD are the market and financial projections for the project, Penny said, which appear very strong.An agreement reached by the Hospital District and the Network states about $1.2 million in pre-construction expenses will be incurred through March 31, 2009. The District, which owns and operates a hospital in Kremmling and Timberline Family Practice in Granby, has signed on as the major tenant for the new facility. It is in negotiations with Centura Hospital Systems (St. Anthonys) on a potential cooperative venture in the facility. Centura owns and operates the Granby Medical Center and Seven Mile Clinic in Winter Park. Meanwhile, Granby Medical Center presently is undergoing a makeover. The clinic is transforming its back building to house a CT scanner as well as make improvements to its waiting room, emergency room, bathrooms and examination rooms.Were going though the whole place to refurbish it and add service, said Dr. Tim Bohlender of the Granby Medical Center.As far as talks with the Kremmling Hospital District, Bohlender said the clinic still has interest in the campus project and is exploring how it can fit in.The Network says the new medical campus would expand health care with possible 24-hour emergency services, a heli-pad and ambulance bay and overnight observation beds. The new facility also plans to include expanded primary care and specialty clinics, outpatient surgery, GI lab and imaging center with CT, ultrasound, mammography, bone density screening and potential MRI services. Mental health, optometry, public health and home health are also part of the plan.Traveling to review the loan with HUD officials on behalf of the project are Penny, Kremmling Memorial Hospitals CEO Bill Widener and CFO Amy Butler. They are being joined by Red Capital Mortgage, F&D International representatives, architects from The Neenan Company and legal council. Were holding our breath, Marsh said. On all the surveys done in Grand County, health care is always the most important to people, and thats what weve been working on for eight years. Were almost there. Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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