One of the best investments a community can make is in its hospital. This has been the case in Ada for years by way of a one cent sales tax to help fund Valley View Regional Hospital (VVRH). It is money well spent.

Recently all the news regarding Valley View has been good. It wasn’t long ago all the news seemed bad. In November of 2008 it looked to some as though the hospital was itself in need of emergency room treatment. It just goes to show the difference leadership can make.

In February 2009, hospital board members wisely chose Mercy Health System of Oklahoma to manage the healthcare facility’s day to day operations and today it is more than back on its feet, it is thriving. So much so, hospital officials are predicting $7.7 million in series 1996 hospital revenue bonds will be paid off later this year, four years before their maturity date.

Dale Boatwright, Valley View board chairman, said the hospital has generated a 6.8 percent operating earnings margin, a significant improvement over 2008 results. Its 116 staffed beds and 20-bed rehab unit reported operating revenues in fiscal 2009 of $70.4 million, up from $65.5 million in 2008.

Hospital officials reported last week that Fitch Ratings, a global rating agency similar to Standard and Poor’s that provides independent data to the world’s credit markets, has upgraded Valley View to a BBB+ rating, up from a BBB rating.

One of the upshots of all this is that the one cent sales tax to fund the hospital may soon be unnecessary, years earlier than originally expected. City councilors are already looking at ways the excess money may be applied to future needs, perhaps regarding what is sure to be more expensive water. This is due to a Senate Bill 288 aquifer study the results of which will restrict commercial usage of water mined from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

Whatever happens to the penny sales tax, the good news is our hospital is on the mend. Congrats VVRH.

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