State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

County Authorizes Bonds for Mount Nittany Medical Center

by on February 08, 2018 4:30 AM

Centre County commissioners this week authorized issuing bonds that will help fund improvements to Mount Nittany Medical Center.

The tax-exempt bonds will be issued through the Centre County Hospital Authority with the proceeds not to exceed $80 million to be loaned to Mount Nittany. Taxable bonds also will be issued, and together they will refinance existing obligations at lower rates and fund $32 million in capital improvements at the medical center.

Randy Tewksbury, Mount Nittany chief financial officer, said the proceeds will support several major planned projects. They include renovation and expansion of the cardiac catheterization laboratory, which also has benefited from private philanthropy. Projects also include a major upgrade to the women's and children's center and renovations to first floor services and labs, among others.

Tewksbury and CEO Kathleen Rhine said Mount Nittany has 17 locations in six counties offering different services, but that the projects financed by the bond obligations would all be at the main hospital campus.

"Some of the things that are there are the original from when the hospital was built and some have been refurbished along the way," Tewksbury said.

Refinancing 2012 series bonds, meanwhile, will result in about $2 million in savings on interest.

“That money that gets saved gets put back into the community," Tewksbury said. "As a nonprofit, there are no shareholders, no one else to share this with. So the money we save is there to put back into facilities, staff, programs, community care, charity care, those types of programs."

Rhine noted that the bond issuance comes at no cost to taxpayers and is an effort to further Mount Nittany's mission of keeping the community healthy.

She said that mission is accomplished by providing access to care through delivering services throughout the community and expanding the Mount Nittany Physician Group; providing quality patient experience and innovation; and providing community benefit programs.

Mount Nittany offers about $20 million in community benefit programs annually, from free and reduced to services to partnering with other local organizations for programs and services.

"We live in this community, we work in this community and we are dedicated to the health of people in this community," Rhine said, adding that Mount Nittany has invested $234 million since 2009 to bring new and expanded health care services to the region.

Commissioners Mark Higgins and Steve Dershem voted to approve the bonds. Michael Pipe was in Harrisburg at Gov. Tom Wolf's budget proposal presentation during the meeting.

Higgins and Dershem both said they were glad to support Mount Nittany's growth and the services it provides.

Dershem said issuing the bonds requires that the purpose meets a standard of community interest.

"I don’t think we could find a higher standard of community interest," Dershem said.


Geoff Rushton is managing editor for Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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