News from the Grossmont Healthcare District
The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD), a public agency that serves as landlord of Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa on behalf of East County taxpayers, has selected the consulting firm of G.L. Hicks Financial LLC to serve as financial advisor to the District for the future issuance of $247 million in tax-exempt general obligation bonds, which were approved by voters on the June 2006 ballot.
The appointment of Hicks Financial is another effort to ensure accountability for taxpayers of bond revenues that will finance several infrastructure construction projects over the next several years at Grossmont Hospital, according to Dr. John Hardebeck, 2007 GHD board president.
Hardebeck said Hicks Financial will work closely with two other previously selected consultants to the District, including the global investment banking firm of Goldman Sachs, which will sell the bonds, and the San Francisco-based law firm of Sidley Austin LLP, which is serving as bond legal counsel. It is expected the first portion of the bond sales will occur sometime this spring.
Founded in 1994, Hicks Financial is operated by Gary L. Hicks, who has more than 25 years of experience in municipal finance. His background includes serving as investment banker or financial advisor on more than 350 separate taxable and tax-exempt financings, representing more than $3.5 billion. He has worked on bond financings with a variety of healthcare providers, from multi-hospital systems to small rural hospitals, congregate care facilities, clinics, blood banks and rehabilitation centers.
An additional layer of accountability for the bond revenues is the District’s 11-member Independent Citizens Bond Oversight Committee (ICBOC), which began meeting in November 2006. “The Oversight Committee functions in an independent, open and transparent manner, and is involved with a detailed accounting of all bond revenues so that voter mandates will be fully, faithfully and effectively carried out,” Hardebeck said.
The June 2006 bond measure passed with a margin of more than 77 percent, well above the two-thirds approval required. Bond proceeds will finance a number of projects at the hospital, including completing the emergency and critical care center and upgrading and expanding rapid-response cardiac care capabilities. Other improvements will include 90 new patient beds to support a growing population, compliance with earthquake standards and upgrading the 50-year-old hospital’s electrical, plumbing and other systems infrastructure to support state-of-the-art medical technology.
The Grossmont Healthcare District, formed in 1952 to build and operate Grossmont Hospital, supports health-related community programs and services in San Diego’s East County region. The District is governed by a five-member board of directors, each elected to four-year terms, who represent nearly 500,000 people residing within the District's 750 square miles in San Diego's East County. In 1991, the District leased the hospital's operation to Sharp HealthCare under a 30-year lease that runs through the year 2021. For more information about GHD, visit www.grossmonthealthcare.org.
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