But a member of the foundation expects a fight with existing hospitals as well as citizens who will oppose the tax increase.
"Yeah, I expect opposition from Salem and from White River (hospitals)," said Lawrence Bronson, as he discussed the hospital proposal in Hardy last week.
Bronson estimates at least 15 percent of Fulton County Hospital patients come from Sharp County and the Batesville hospital gets even more Sharp countians. So, it makes sense that Fulton and White River hospitals will fight because they stand to lose patients and revenue if a new Sharp County Hospital is built.
"We will have a direct impact on those hospitals," added Bronson.
Bronson believes the total cost to treat Sharp County residents at area hospitals is $80 to $90 million a year. "So, we are saying, bring that back here."
"Fulton County Hospital has saved many lives in Sharp County by treating people with heart attacks and life threatening injuries," said Al Roork, chairman of the Fulton County Hospital Board. "We want them to continue to utilize us."
Roork said Fulton County Hospital hopes to stay out of the Sharp County Hospital tax debate. But he hopes residents will look closely at the challenges a new hospital will face.
"If they do a good, unbiased study of the cost involved, they will conclude there is no way Sharp County will be able to sustain a hospital," said Roork. "The cost to build and equip a hospital is prohibitive. Established hospitals like Fulton County, Calico and even Baxter Regional are barely getting by, even with sales tax support."
Roork believes Sharp County officials who have worked on establishing a full-time emergency room with a doctor and nurse practitioner are on the right track.
"Fulton County Hospital would be interested in helping Sharp County work toward that goal," said Roork.
Lawrence Bronson counters the emergency-room-only proposal is short sighted.
"Essentially, it would be the same amount of tax. A three-quarter cent tax to get an ER and maybe two or three people (employees)," Bronson told Hardy residents. "Our proposal (a one cent tax), you get to stabilize ambulance service, you get an ER, you get a hospital. You get an industry. You're going to create 180 jobs."
The Sharp County Hospital Foundation has posted its feasibility study online at Sharpcountyhospital.com.
It plans to continue to educate residents on why a one cent tax and a new hospital make the most sense for Sharp County.
Roork indicated the Fulton County Hospital will not interfere.
"We will not actively oppose a tax vote," said Roork. "We will not do anything to try to sabotage efforts to let the public decide."