Theis: State’s renewal of lease on unused ‘field hospital’ a waste of taxpayer dollars

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Lana Theis said Monday that the recent decision by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration to renew a lease on an unused field hospital at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

“It is not a bad idea to have a field hospital to treat people with COVID-19 if one is truly needed,” said Theis, R-Brighton. “But the fact is they never used the space they created, even when it would have provided medical space to quarantine our COVID-19-positive patients. The uncertainty and fear during the first few months that the coronavirus outbreak would overwhelm hospitals failed to materialize. Michigan’s health care system ably withstood the influx of virus patients and we now have a much clearer expectation.

“While well-intentioned, the now-dismantled Novi field hospital previously only treated 16 people at a taxpayer cost of $1.1 million a month in rent from April through September. Now, with COVID-19 hospital admission rates steadily declining, and thus no need for the field hospital, the Whitmer administration has chosen to unnecessarily renew the facility’s lease for three more months at nearly the same cost to taxpayers.

“We’ve just completed the state’s new budget and, while we were able to increase funding for many priorities, many others had to be cut to resolve the deficit. Nine million dollars is significant. Rather than continuing to waste taxpayer dollars on the abandoned Novi field hospital, the funds should be put to better use, such as providing more personal protective equipment to protect seniors at nursing homes and other similar facilities.”

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