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FTMC takes step forward to better heart care in town

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:44 PM

Fisher-Titus Medical Center took a step forward Tuesday in its quest to be the one-stop shop for heart care in the area.

The Huron County Commissioners approved a 30-year, $30 million bond for the hospital for a $7 million expansion of the cardiovascular services that will create 15 new jobs. The other $23 million is for refinancing of current FTMC debt as well as fees.

By state law, the bond is required to be issued through the county, but it is not the obligation of the county the bonds are sold on Fisher-Titus' credit. In other words, the county is simply a conduit for issuing the bond, said commissioner Mike Adelman.

"The project is extremely important to the hospital, but also to members of the community," said Tom Bleile, FTMC board chairman.

Patients will now have access to "a full range of cardiovascular care," "state-of-the art facilities and equipment for heart and vascular care," as well as comprehensive screening and preventative care programs.

Dubbed the FTMC Heart and Vascular Center, the new, 20,000 square foot expansion will feature expanded cardiology and vascular services. The facility will include two cardiovascular labs and offices for cardiologists.

The total project will cost $8.4 million, with $7 million funded through the bond. The hospital hopes to break ground on the expansion in October and complete the project by July 2008. It will be located on the southwest side of FTMC, adjacent to the emergency department.

Adelman called the project "another big, positive step forward."

Commissioner Gary Bauer also praised FTMC. "I think it's a tremendous asset, what Fisher-Titus does for the community. It's terrific."

Fisher-Titus can obtain such a bond because of its excellent credit rating it is one of three Ohio hospitals with an "A" rating, and by far the smallest.

"I think the whole goal of Fisher-Titus is to bring the highest quality medicine to this area," said Lee Mairose, of bond underwriter Seasongood & Mayer. "This is unique, not just in Ohio, but across the country."

The tax exempt bonds will be issued in $5,000 increments for 25 years paying about 4.5 to 4.6 percent interest.

"We are very pleased to be able to offer these bonds publicly," Bleile said. "As a community-based hospital, we look forward to area residents investing in the future of health-care in their own community."

FTMC employs 80 people with a $30 million payroll and $136 million operating budget. The hospitals "fixed assets" i.e. property and equipment has grown from $2 million in 1975 to $120 million now.

"It's just a remarkable improvement in a health care facility," Mairose said.

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