An economic analysis commissioned by Nashville-based HCA Inc. says the company's proposed hospital in eastern Loudoun County would generate $100 million in tax revenue over 23 years, a portion of which it says would help to finance rapid transit to Dulles International Airport.
State health department officials are considering an application by HCA, the country's largest for-profit hospital chain, to close two of its hospitals, Northern Virginia Community in Arlington and Dominion in Falls Church, and open a 180-bed hospital in the Broadlands area in 2006.
"The hospital makes many contributions to the community," said Mark C. Looney, an attorney for HCA. "It provides contributions beyond health care issues."
The report was prepared by Robert Charles Lesser and Co., a real estate consulting and economic analysis firm in Chevy Chase.
Its calculations are based on the assumption that HCA would pay taxes based on present-day rates from 2003 to 2025, except for real estate taxes, which it calculated at slightly lower levels to offer a more "conservative estimate." The report indicates that HCA would not file for tax exemptions.
The report says the hospital and related businesses would pay about $64.2 million in property taxes between 2003 and 2025, $20 million in personal property taxes and $2 million in sales taxes on construction materials.
It says about $20.3 million would be generated by the business, professional and occupational license tax, paid by the hospital and physicians. That money would be earmarked for the proposed extension of Metrorail from West Falls Church to Tysons Corner, Dulles and eastern Loudoun County, a project estimated to cost as much as $3.3 billion.
Officials of Loudoun Healthcare Inc., which runs the nonprofit Loudoun Hospital Center, called the report misleading and challenged assumptions that tax rates would remain the same and that HCA would not seek exemptions.
They repeated their assertions that a new hospital would hurt Loudoun Hospital financially, since the two facilities would compete for physicians, other medical workers and patients, and would lead to higher health care costs. Loudoun Hospital issued a report in September saying it would be forced to lay off 450 employees and lose $54 million in annual revenue if HCA's plans were approved.
"To say that HCA's new hospital will solve the budget problems and a challenging mass transit problem, you've got to be kidding me," said Tony Raker, a spokesman for Loudoun Hospital Center. "It's a way to entice county officials and residents into supporting them."
HCA has requested property-tax reductions in the past. Marilyn B. Tavenner, president of the central-Atlantic division of HCA, said the company's previous requests were made because it believed aging facilities were being taxed at rates that were too high.
"That's not the case in Loudoun," she said, where the hospital would be new. She said the company had no current requests for tax abatements for any area hospitals.
Two agencies that evaluate Northern Virginia's health care needs have recommended rejecting HCA's plans. The state health commissioner is expected to make a decision next year.