Officials at Bowie Memorial only have four months left until the make it or break it vote. However, now they have a new CEO.
Ernie Parisi was given the position on July 23rd, 2015 by Board Members. He was asked to take on the role by the former Interim CEO Lynn Heller. One of the reasons why he agreed to take the job is because he has previous experience with the hospital, so he feels like he knows the community.
"Some would consider me one that has the ability to at least assist them in districts and explaining the process of it," Parisi said.
This is a process that will not stop after election day. Until then, the priority is education.
"The focus is to inform the community what kind of services that we provide and sort of put an identity to the facility itself," he said.
Educating the public on what it would mean to become a hospital district is another goal. However, it's not just the public that he wants to focus on. Educating the employees on the process is also important.
"Once the district is passed you have to do this significant change of ownership process," Parisi said.
Employees are already getting prepared for that to happen. However, everyone knows there is no guarantee that the public will vote in favor of becoming a hospital district. Parisi explained he understands how people do not want to pay additional taxes. So, by educating the public, he hopes to sway their vote.
"You can always improve and you should improve," he said.
However, district aside, the employees want to get more involved in the community. This is why they have created their own campaign, which they are paying for our of their own pockets.
All of the employees will be wearing a button saying, "Ask Me," in hopes of the community asking them about the services at Bowie Memorial. They will also have shirts that say, "We Are Bowie Memorial." By doing this it will show their pride for the hospital and show the community they are here to stay.
They hope the campaign and efforts to educate the public on the health district will help voters made an educated decision. Plus, come November, everyone at the hospital will know they gave it their all.
Even if the residents in Bowie give the green light on becoming a hospital district, Bowie Memorial will still struggle for a while. Parisi said the hospital will not receive a penny from the taxes until December 2016.
"Financially, it doesn't help immediately at all," he said.
However, something residents need to be aware of, is the tax hike could decrease.
"When you commit as you have to 17.02 cents, you've committed to 17.02 cents," Parisi said, "Now it could be lower, but it won't be higher."