Valley Health opened the doors of their new Wellness Center last September of 2008. Since it’s nearing a year old, it’s fair to the local community to be aware of its annual checkup. The $17million dollar Wellness Center project was funded from VHS [Valley Health System] cash reserves. FY 2004 year-end balance sheets showed cash, cash equivalents and investments in excess of $170 million, easily sufficient to finance the capital costs of the project. Still have not been able to obtain the figures on Valley Health’s cash reserves for FY2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
- Are the current members at the Wellness Center representing all of the economic classes from our local community?
One issue raised by the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association in Boston, in a January  letter to Valley Health's board of directors, is that "to justify a hospital-affiliated fitness facility' tax exempt status, it must restrict membership to hospital patients; or if non-patients will be members it must be available to the entire community and be able to document that its membership is representative of all economic classes in the community. The tax exemption of several hospitals has been challenged, often successfully, because hospitals have failed to meet theses guidelines."- What are the outreach programs available where anyone can come at any time and there are no fees?
- What is the current membership and what is the age breakdown of present members? It has been said current membership is somewhere between 5,000 – 6,000 members.
Dena Kent said financial aid would be available to some people. "We will do health assessments on every member and develop individual plans for them. If they have a medical condition that needs attention, then they can get a scholarship [if they are needy]. "There will be a number of health outreach programs, where anyone can come at any time and there are no fees."
In projections used for COPN (Certificate of Pubic Need) approval, Valley Health said it is looking at a membership of 4,000 persons, targeting the 35-to 80-age group, especially people who don't exercise, said Kent.
- Have local tax paying health club memberships increased since the Wellness Center opened it’s door to the local public, or worse yet, did any of them shutdown within the last year?
"I have met with owners of the local clubs, and some say we will take members away from them," said Kent. "But we are hoping to attract people who don't exercise. In most markets, commercial clubs did not go out of business; their memberships actually went up because of the increased awareness of fitness."
Valley Health is projecting the wellness center business will break even in its second year, and after the third year will throw off cash flow of almost $1.3 million. Funding the cost of the center from Valley Health internal resources means there is no requirement for debt service.
View these documents of interests below:
January 2005 - Letter from IHRSA to VHS BOD's that went unanswered according to Tim Sullivan who is a Legislative Analyst for IHRSA, International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.
May 2006 - Article that was featured in the Quad State Business Journal.
VHS Plans to Build Wellness Center
Between the Winchester Star on April 9th's and NVDaily's April 17th front page articles, was able to obtain the following information:
(NVDaily) - The center, which opened in September 2008, brought in $1.1 million in revenue in its first three months of operation, according to tax records.
(WincStar) - Just before the wellness and fitness center opened in September 2008, it had collected 3,200 applications for membership.
Kent said the goal was to reach 5,000 members in three years, but it has moved beyond that. “We hit that number in a year,” she said, noting that the center now has 5,800 members.