Upon his death in 1898, Judge Scott directed that a portion of his sizable estate be “forever under the direction and control” of the City of Bloomington, and be used to “erect,” “construct” and “furnish” “…a building suitable for a hospital and to be used for hospital purposes.”
Judge Scott stipulated that “…the Elders of the Second Presbyterian Church” retained the “privilege” to “…visit said hospital and advise as to its management and especially to see that patients that may be admitted to said hospital are kindly cared for and humanely treated.” The hospital he envisioned was
“…for the use and benefit of all sick or otherwise disabled persons, male or female, old or young, without regard to nationality or religious beliefs no matter from what cause such sickness may arise…and who may not be able to pay for needed care and attention in the hospital…. It is particularly desired that all persons who may be injured in an accident and who may have no friends at hand to care for them or who may have no money or other means to pay…may be admitted…”
Once a hospital was constructed, if funds remained, Judge Scott ordered them held in trust as an endowment fund for the hospital.
Judge Scott’s last surviving annuitant died in 1976, by which time his entire estate was worth $6.9 million and the community had three hospitals (Brokaw, Mennonite, and St. Joseph). Thus, using his estate to fund hospital construction was no longer relevant. The Courts intervened, and in 1981 ordered that 55% of the estate should be held in a charitable trust and used by the City of Bloomington to create a preventative health center for disadvantaged persons. Thus, on 11/20/1981, the City of Bloomington Council became Trustee of the John M. Scott Health Care Trust. By 1981, the estate’s value had compounded again, and 55% of the estate totaled $5.4 million, which came under the administration of the Trustee. Today, the passively managed Trust is invested in indexed, low-fee funds and is worth over $12 million.
Under the 1981 Declaration of Trust, funds were designated for a “Scott Health Resources Center,” which for many ensuing years was located inside the Bloomington City Township office (currently located on Oakland and Gridley). In the mid-1990s, the City of Bloomington transferred administrative responsibilities for the Trust to Bloomington City Township via an intergovernmental agreement (IGA). The Scott Health Resources Center connected low-income residents to services such as medication, transportation to cancer and prenatal appointments, eye glasses, and oral health care. Those direct services were reimbursed from the Trust to the Township based on units of service, and an additional portion of Trust funds were allocated to cover the Township’s related program and administrative expenses.
Following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (circa 2014), service uptake at the Scott Health Resources Center declined. In response, the John M. Scott Health Care Commission recommended 1) the dissolution of the IGA between the City of Bloomington and the Bloomington City Township; 2) termination of direct service provision through Scott Health Center in favor of a grants-only funding model; and 3) reverting Trust Administration back to the City of Bloomington.
The Bloomington City Council voted to approve these recommendations on May 14, 2018. Subsequently, the administration of the Trust shifted to the City of Bloomington Community Development Department, with the City’s Grants Coordinator providing administrative support to the Trust, Trustee, and Commission. The City of Bloomington Community Development Department is well-equipped to administer the Trust as the administrator of other grant programs such as the Community Development Block Grant. Further, the Department can leverage economies of scale for the Trust by utilizing existing grant-management infrastructure and software.
In addition to setting up the Health Resources Center, the original Declaration of Trust called for the creation of a “Commission” to advise the Trustee in carrying out the purpose and intent of the Trust, including the John M. Scott Health Resources Center and other permitted programs and expenditures. While the composition of the Commission has evolved over time, there’s been one constant: representation from Second Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, according to Judge Scott’s original Will.
Historically, most, if not all, Commissioners were licensed healthcare practitioners (internal medicine, psychiatry, dentistry, nurse practitioner, etc.), including the representative from Second Presbyterian. Based on their clinical expertise and knowledge of needs in the community, those Commissioners made spending recommendations to the Trustee, and Trust funds were distributed without a competitive and public application process. Through 2018, the total amount spent in any given fiscal year was relatively small (~$100,000 - $180,000) and limited to a handful of key local organizations.
Commission Meeting Minutes
Jennifer Toney, Staff Administrator