ORANGE - The first of two hospital district town hall meetings was held at Lamar State College Orange on Thursday.
Kelli Patin is advocating for a hospital district to be established in Orange County. Patin says she had a medical emergency and could not get help at any medical centers in Orange.
"It just so happens that the local ERs are not in my insurance network so I had to go to Port Arthur to go to the ER, a 30-minute drive. I'd really appreciate if I had a hospital here," Patin said.
Her incident happened after Baptist Hospital closed its emergency room back in January.
Orange County Judge Stephen Brint Carlton says there has been a long search by himself and other community leaders to fill the healthcare void.
"Entities have spent the last two years, almost three years now, talking with other hospital corporations, businesses, and entities to try and recruit them to come to Orange County. So far, those efforts have been unsuccessful," Judge Brint Carlton said.
Another problem posed by Baptist Hospital’s closure is that ambulances have to make longer trips to reach emergency healthcare.
The proposal to establish a hospital district could bring a tax increase to Orange County residents.
The proposed hike is 18 cents per $100 of a property’s assessed value.
David Covey is against raising taxes to fund a hospital. He feels that there are no solid plans to operate a new hospital at this time.
"For example, where is this hospital going to be located, who's going to be the providers there, will they take my insurance? Those questions haven't been answered and until those questions are answered I feel like the answer is no, we don't need to vote for it," Covey said.
The next town hall meeting will be held December 5. Early voting runs from December 4 to December 8.
Election day is December 19.
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