On Tuesday, July 24th, Citizens Project, the Colorado Springs Independent, and the Pikes Peak Equality Coalition hosted an election education forum concerning the upcoming special election about the Memorial Health System. The event was held at the Stargazers Theatre and was attended by 50 Colorado Springs citizens. Joe Cole of Fox21 News moderated the forum and panelists included Jan Martin, President Pro Tem of the Colorado Springs City Council, Merv Bennett, City Councilmember At-Large, and Frank Veitch, representative of the Great City, Great Care campaign. Questions were submitted to panelists in written form and via Twitter. Each panelist made a statement concerning their work on the upcoming ballot measure which, if approved, will authorize the leasing of the Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health.
Since there has been no formal opposition to this ballot measure, all panelists were supporters of the proposed lease; as a result, audience members were asked to pose challenging questions to the panelists to ensure a balanced discussion of the issue. Audience members offered questions covering a wide range of concerns about the ballot measure. Panelists assured the audience that leasing the hospital to the University system will provide the City of Colorado Springs with many benefits.
In addition to asserting that the standard of care will not drop (they actually expect it to increase) and that current employees of the Memorial Health System will safely hold their jobs, salaries, and benefits for at least six months following the transition, panelists were clear that “we really believe that for the benefit of the city and the city’s health care, we wanted to maintain some ownership.”
Colorado Springs citizens have traditionally felt a strong sense of ownership over the Memorial Health System, and although panelists believed that it is no longer a good idea for the city to be running the Memorial Health System, they still held that it is very important for citizens to be involved and receive high-quality local health care, a sentiment that is reflected in the proposed lease agreement. The forum generated a variety of wonderful questions and answers, for more details and quotes from the panelists, check out @citizensproject on Twitter, #memdec2012
The special election will be held August 28th and is by mail-in ballot only. The deadline to register to vote in this election is July 30th. For more ballot information visit springsgov.com.