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Board raises tax rate to support Citrus Memorial Hospital

The Citrus County Hospital Board voted unanimously to nearly quadruple the tax rate it uses to help support Citrus Memorial Hospital.

In a 5-0 vote Monday night, the board set the new rate at 1 mill, up from last year's 0.2539 mills, for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, said Rebecca Martin, a Citrus Memorial spokeswoman. One mill is equivalent to $1 of tax for every $1,000 of assessed, nonexempt real property. The new tax rate will generate about $6.6-million for the hospital, which is about $5.1-million more than it receives under the current millage rate.

The additional funds will help offset costs incurred from indigent care and for capital improvements and operations. The hospital lost $4.5-million last year and expects to lose roughly $2-million for the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30.

The hospital's red ink stems in part from malpractice insurance, shrinking reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, and the success of outpatient facilities that take financially advantageous cases away from the hospital.

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