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Henry County lease agreement set for vote

Robb Gardner, Henry County Health Center CEO
Robb Gardner, Henry County Health Center CEO
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On March 2, Henry County residents will be asked to vote to approve or deny the Henry County Health Center leasing agreement with Great River Health.

The agreement entails that Great River will lease the hospital and its equipment for 11½ years. During that time, HCHC staff will remain as county employees and will retain their current benefits, including IPERS pension benefits. In addition, the hospital Board of Trustees will still own the hospital and its assets and will continue to oversee the hospital’s budget.

Back in December, the hospital board voted unanimously for the lease agreement and now are encouraging residents to vote yes for the agreement.

“The lease agreement is the next step in a longstanding relationship between the Henry County Health Center and Great River Health,” said Kent Severson, Henry County Health Center board chairman. “This is an opportunity for the health center to join forces more formally with a trusted partner with a proven track record of strengthening local health care. By expanding the partnership, it ensures our community will continue to have access to critical health care services, close to home.”

“Our community has come to rely on us for its health care needs, and we want our residents to know that’s not going to change,” hospital CEO Robb Gardner said. “The HCHC Foundation funds are going to stay within the community, property tax dollars are all staying in Henry County, and the HCHC associates will continue to be employed by the HCHC board of trustees. Our hospital will continue to be owned, operated and staffed by Southeast Iowans who understand the needs of the community.”

Absentee ballots for the election will be available the first week of February, and the special election will be held March 2. For more information, or to help with the special election, please contact Shelley Doak, Henry County Health Center public information director, at doaks@hchc.org or go tohchc.org/partnerships-with-great-river-health/.