Waukon, IA (Nov. DATE –, 2022) – During the March 21 Waukon City Council meeting, Veterans Memorial Hospital (VMH) shared its intent to file a petition to invoke a vote for a city to county conversion, and received the Council’s support. VMH will begin a petition for voter support on April 4. Approximately 400 signatures are needed to file the petition with the county election commissioner.
Like most rural hospitals, VMH faces growing financial challenges. Changes made by the current leadership team have helped the hospital become solvent over the past two years. COVID relief dollars also helped offset expenses and fund minor renovations. Converting to a county hospital will build on this progress and help ensure long-term sustainability with the support of recurring annual appropriations.
“The main goal of this conversion is to make sure Veterans Memorial is here for the community for the long term,” said Michael Coyle, CEO of VMH. “To do that, we need additional resources not only to retain inpatient services like OB, but to bring other specialties to Allamakee County and the surrounding area.”
Coyle also emphasized that the 70-year-old facility requires major renovations to meet new and upcoming healthcare codes. Appropriations would help support these critical infrastructure updates and other capital investments in technology.
“Our patients and their families have been—and always will be—at the center of every decision we make,” said Coyle. “That’s why this conversion is so important. It goes well beyond sustainability. It builds on decades of caring—not only for, but about each other. It’s critical to improving patient safety, meeting growing healthcare needs and changing regulations, and making sure everyone in the Waukon area continues to have access to exceptional care close to home. So we really hope the community will support this effort.”
If the required number of signatures is collected, VMH will submit a petition to the County Board of Supervisors on Aug. 18, 2022. The Board will then submit the petition to the election commissioner to be added to the general election ballot. The petition for the election and ballot language would be provided to the county auditor by Sept. 23, and placed on the ballot for the Nov. 8, 2022, general election.
Watch for updates from Veterans Memorial Hospital regarding the referendum, including an open forum for community members to share their questions and comments.