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Henry County voters approve lease of hospital

Henry County residents turned out to vote on the HCHC and Great River lease agreement (Mariah Giberson/The Union)
Henry County residents turned out to vote on the HCHC and Great River lease agreement (Mariah Giberson/The Union)
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Henry County residents voted to approve the lease agreement between the Henry County Health Center and Great River Health. In eight out of the nine precincts, the majority vote was yes for the lease agreement.

The unofficial count showed that out of 2,092 votes, 1,236 voted yes, a 59 percent approval. The lease agreement needed 50 percent to pass.

Kent Severson of the HCHC board of trustees was “thrilled” with the passing of the lease agreement.

“We are thrilled the residents have voted to secure the future of local health care,” he said. “With the voters’s support, we look forward to taking the next steps in continuing Henry County’s rich history.”

“This year HCHC is celebrating its 100th year of serving the county, and we will be able to welcome that milestone with confidence and stability to ensure quality health care stays close to home for years to come,” Severson said.

The 11.5 year operational lease agreement will begin Thursday, July 1, according to the hospital. When the lease goes into effect, Great River Health will take over operating the hospital. However, the board of trustees will still own the hospital and the name will not change. HCHC employees will continue to work for the county to retain IPERS benefits.

“Great River Health is happy with the election results, and we look forward to expanding and enhancing our trusted partnership with HCHC,” said Great River Health President and CEO Matt Wenzel. “We are very pleased to have the continued support of Henry County residents. We are committed to providing local, quality health care options for residents in our region now and ensuring the long-term stability of these services in the future.

“On behalf of the trustees, we want to thank those who volunteered their time for the campaign and those who voted yes to support the investment in our region,” Severson said. “So we are very pleased tonight.”