PHOENIX, Nov. 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Voters in Maricopa County, Arizona, overwhelmingly approved a proposition this week that allows the Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) to move forward with critical upgrade's to Arizona's only public health care system.
Proposition 480 was approved 63.09 percent to 36.91 percent Tuesday in one of the most conservative and largest counties in the United States.
Voters joined a broad coalition of community and business leaders, police, firefighters, health care groups and elected officials to ensure MIHS receives the upgrades needed to continue providing Level One trauma services for adults and children, the Arizona Burn Center, the highly-respected public teaching hospital, Maricopa Medical Center, and an expansion of behavioral health services.
"We are honored to have the support of Maricopa County voters to move ahead with a fiscally prudent investment to upgrade our safety-net health care system," said Steve Purves, MIHS President and CEO. "This overwhelming vote of support shows that – even in a difficult election year – voters understood what a valuable asset MIHS is for our community."
Nita Francis, co-chair of the 'Yes on 480' campaign, added: "The passage of Prop. 480 marks a new beginning to improve health care access to those most in need, as well as protecting invaluable health care assets. The positive health and economic benefits will be felt across the state. We are excited to begin the next phase of providing Maricopa County residents with world-class facilities for their public county hospital."
Planning for the bond measure began over a year ago, when a 15-member citizens' Bond Advisory Committee conducted a series of 18 meetings, including five public town halls, to assess the condition and needs of MIHS. The Maricopa Medical Center, the most visible part of the system, is more than 40 years old and considered functionally obsolete.
The MIHS Board of Directors, after conducting an independent review of the Bond Advisory's recommendation to put a bond measure of up to $935 million on the Nov. 4 ballot, agreed in May to seek the election. The measure generated opposition from anti-tax activists, but won endorsements from key elected officials, ranging from U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor, a Democrat, to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The Arizona Republic, the state's largest newspaper, also endorsed the proposition, saying that despite the Affordable Care Act, "We still need a safety net health care provider.
"The hospital in which those (MIHS) doctors work is an embarrassment, a Nixon-era structure whose obsolescence is a daily obstacle to quality care. If the Maricopa Integrated Health System is to continue playing its role serving an otherwise neglected population, it will need new facilities," the newspaper's editorial page said.
The election victory will kick start a public planning process to help make critical upgrades to the health care system, which is licensed for 515 beds (325 acute and 190 psychiatric). MIHS includes two behavioral health centers, 11 neighborhood Family Health Centers located across Maricopa County, the McDowell Healthcare Center, the county's first HIV/AIDS clinic and the Arizona Children's Center.
About Maricopa Integrated Health System
Maricopa Integrated Health System, located in Maricopa County, Arizona, is the state's only public health care system. MIHS has been serving the residents of Maricopa County for more than 140 years. MIHS has 515 licensed beds – 325 acute and 190 psychiatric and more than 4,000 employees. MIHS includes the Maricopa Medical Center, the Arizona Burn Center, Level I Trauma Center, the Arizona Children's Center, two behavioral health centers, 11 neighborhood family health centers and the McDowell Healthcare Center, the region's oldest HIV/AIDS clinic. Mission: Maricopa Integrated Health System is committed to offering comprehensive and safe care to all who live in Maricopa County, including the underserved and medically needy, through a seamless continuum of care that keeps our community healthy and self-sufficient and effectively treats illness. We are committed to fostering academic programs that train physicians for the community and conduct clinical research to improve health care outcomes. Website address is www.MIHS.org. Main telephone number is (602) 344-5011.
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Murphy , Communications Director, Maricopa Integrated Health System, 602-344-1231, [email protected]
SOURCE Maricopa Integrated Health System