Citizens to Save the Hospital

The John C. Fremont Healthcare District needs the community’s help.

State law requires every hospital in California to meet strict seismic safety standards by 2030 or lose its license to operate. The John C. Fremont hospital does not meet these standards.

Renovating the existing 70-year-old facility to meet these standards would be a risky project that could end up costing as much or even more than the knowable cost of building a new, modern hospital capable of meeting the community’s healthcare needs for generations to come.

No healthcare district generates sufficient profits to fund a major capital expenditure like this, so some other source of funding is needed. With no billionaires living in Mariposa County able to donate the estimated $80 million needed, which is common in other communities, the only remaining option is a tax.

Because Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) cannot be used for hospital districts like ours, the only way to tax the millions of tourists who visit here every year is with a sales tax. It is estimated that a sales tax of 1% assessed over a period of 40 years will be needed to fund the project.

To meet this need a committee of Mariposa County residents called the Citizens to Save the Hospital has formed to pursue a County Initiative to adopt a retail transactions and use (sales) tax ordinance in the amount of 1% and for a period of 40 years for the purpose of generating the funds needed to design, construct and equip a new community hospital that meets all applicable seismic safety and other building standards, and to modify and repurpose existing facilities to better satisfy the healthcare needs of Mariposa County residents and visitors.

It is important to note that the District’s existing 0.5% sales tax will expire in 2025, resulting in a net increase of only a half percentage point over the amount currently being paid.

The Citizens to Save the Hospital committee intends to circulate petitions among registered voters throughout Mariposa County, and after gathering a sufficient number of signatures, present the initiative to the County Board of Supervisors who can either pass it directly or place a measure on the ballot for approval by a majority of voters.

If passed, the project and its funding will be overseen in a public process by the Healthcare District’s Board of Directors, who are elected by and are responsible to the residents of Mariposa County. The Healthcare District has already engaged the services of an architectural firm and a construction company with extensive experience designing and building hospitals in California, but will need to secure funding before being able to finalize plans.

If this Citizens Initiative is unsuccessful, Mariposa County residents risk losing life-saving medical care for victims of accidents, heart attacks, strokes and other medical emergencies currently being provided by the county’s only 24/7 emergency room and air ambulance service.

A DRAFT version of the Ordinance in two popular file formats is now available for public comment:

Here are some ways you can help at this early stage:

  • Review the DRAFT Ordinance to get familiar with the effort and offer suggestions for how to improve the Ordinance.
  • Volunteer to help gather signatures when the petitions are available.
  • Make a contribution to the Citizens to Save the Hospital committee. Please note that donations are not tax-deductible.

Comments, questions and offers to volunteer should be sent via email to info@SaveTheHospital.org

Contributions should be mailed to:

  • Citizens to Save the Hospital
  • PO Box 5008-142
  • Mariposa, CA 95338

Thank you for your support of the John C. Fremont Healthcare District and the Citizens to Save the Hospital committee!