Flagstaff’s hospital is approved to move, but now some residents are pushing back

The first Q&A meeting was held for the community regarding Northern Arizona Healthcare moving its hospital to downtown Phoenix.
Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 10:07 PM MST
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FLAGSTAFF, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The proposed movement of Flagstaff’s hospital has caused a lot of upset people in the small community. Northern Arizona Healthcare plans to move its hospital, located in downtown Flagstaff, about 7 miles south near Fort Tuthill. While the Flagstaff City Council approved this over the summer, a group of locals with Flagstaff Community First gathered enough signatures to get Proposition 480 on the ballot. “We’re urging people to vote no on 480, which means it would reverse the rezoning and allow that land to stay as rural residential as opposed to being shifted to highway commercial,” Stefan Sommer said.

NAH held its first community Q&A Wednesday evening to address community concerns as the room was packed with people wearing both vote yes and no stickers. NAH representatives shared that their goal is to provide better health care to all of Northern Arizona, not just Flagstaff. “We don’t get a bed utilization so while we might have 240 beds, we don’t ever really get to use 240 beds,” a NAH representative said. “So when we increase by 36 beds, we’re not just increasing by 36 beds, we’re increasing the utilization of our beds.”

But residents are also concerned about the second phase, which could include commercial and residential buildings. “The hospital should be in the business of health care, not in the business of real estate,” resident Sandra Lubarsky said.

The best outcome for those against the hospital, Sommer said, is to focus on what is already built. “NAH had a plan to renovate the current hospital and it was a good plan, and it served the communities needs and purposes in a variety of different ways,” he said.

NAH representatives said before more development would take place, they would have to take the proposals to the city for approval and plan to hold more meetings.

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