Economy has affected Lodi Health, city of Lodi and Camp Hutchins - Letters to the Editor - Mobile

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Economy has affected Lodi Health, city of Lodi and Camp Hutchins

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Camp Hutchins has been an excellent daycare center for the community for about two decades. For the past 15 years, it has been operated by Lodi Memorial Hospital — now Lodi Health — in the northwest portion of Hutchins Street Square, which is a taxpayer-funded facility.

Approximately $500,000 worth of taxpayer funds have gone toward debt service, utilities and maintenance for this daycare center since 1998. On Dec. 19, 2012, the Lodi City Council was asked to discuss renewing the $1 annual lease with Lodi Health to operate Camp Hutchins, as well as the Adult Day Care Center, which serves seniors who are not able to care for themselves alone. Because taxpayer funds are used to support those programs, the City Council was asked to discuss the following policy questions:

  • Should the city (taxpayers) continue providing a rent subsidy for child care services that compete with private providers, as well as the Recreation Division's After School Program at Lakewood, Reese, Vinewood and Larson elementary schools?
  • Should the city (taxpayers) continue absorbing the cost of wear and tear to Camp Hutchins?
  • Should the city (taxpayers) continue absorbing the cost of wear and tear to the Adult Day Care Center?

Three representatives of Lodi Health spoke on behalf of the programs. Afterward, the City Council voted unanimously that city staff should seek additional compensation from Lodi Health for Camp Hutchins, but continue the $1 annual lease for the Adult Day Care Center. As city staff began carrying out that direction, Lodi Health announced the closure of Camp Hutchins at the end of July.

The city's perspective is to close the subsidy gap, not attempt to profit from the program. The decision made by the city was that Lodi Health should pay more than $1 a year for its Camp Hutchins lease.

As it prepares for health-care reform and assesses programs and services to strengthen its system, Lodi Health determined it could no longer operate Camp Hutchins if the lease should increase.

Camp Hutchins will close at the end of July. The Camp Hutchins staff will work with parents of the 30 students to ensure a smooth transition to other facilities.

The city and Lodi Health are proud of their partnership at Camp Hutchins the past 15 years. The economy, however, has impacted both the city and the health system. We both are adapting, given our limited resources.

Konradt Bartlam

City manager, city of Lodi

Joe Harrington

President, Lodi Health