Allandale N.A. Endorses Hospital District
At its meeting Wednesday night, the Allandale Neighborhood Association endorsed the proposed Travis County Hospital District
and the proposition that the City of Austin’s contract with the firefighters be subject to collective bargaining. Both items will be on the May 15th ballot.
The hospital district is badly needed. Austin is the only major metropolitan area in Texas without a hospital district. Currently, Brackenridge Hospital must divert incoming patients 30 percent of the time. Austin has only half as many trauma beds as called for in national standards. On top of that, it is projected that the demand for emergency rooms will increase eight percent annually.
While the hospital district would be a new taxing entity, the district would allow for the consolidation of city and county health clinics. The clinics currently are open only from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday-Friday. These hours largely make the clinics inaccessible for the working poor, driving them to go to hospital emergency rooms for their health care needs. The cost savings obtained by consolidating the clinics within a hospital district should allow the clinics to have longer and weekend hours. Also, household tax exemptions would apply for the district.
Texas leads the nation in uninsured patients, and as a result, our hospitals are currently losing money treating indigent patients. This contributes to Austin having the highest insurance rates in the state.
Brackenrdge currently has no mental health beds. The lack of public mental health beds discourages the private hospitals from having mental health beds. If they had the beds, they would be burdened with all of the area’s mental health patients.
Here is a great visual argument in favor of the proposed district: