MOUNT GILEAD — After 18 months of contentious meetings and lawsuits, the Morrow County Commissioners and the Morrow County Hospital Board of Trustees approved a Settlement Agreement on Dec. 30.
The agreement was crafted and agreed to by both parties after the Commissioners and Hospital Board appeared for court-ordered mediation with a private mediator on Dec. 17.
The parties agreed that they desired to settle all issues as well as any claims or potential claims between them, including a resolution to all pending litigation, including the Civil Action, the Public Records Actilon and the Appeal.
As part of the agreement, both the Morrow County Commissioners and the MorrowCounty Hospital Board have approved the creation of the Morrow County Health Initiative Citizens Advisory Group (referred to as the “MC-HIC Advisory Group”). The MC-HIC Advisory Group will analyze the state of healthcare in Morrow County and develop a five-year plan to improve healthcare in Morrow County.
The MC-HIC Advisory Group will not make decisions regarding healthcare in Morrow County, but will instead provide recommendations to the Morrow County Commissioners and the County Hospital Board. The Morrow County Commissioners and the County Hospital Board can thereafter make decisions regarding the County Hospital and other aspects of health care in the county in accordance with their statutory authority.
The MC-HIC Advisory Group will be made up of seven community volunteers. The Morrow County Commissioners appoint three members, and the Hospital Board appoint three members. The six appointed members will then appoint the seventh member, who will serve as chairperson. The Morrow County Commissioners and the County Hospital Board will jointly fund the MC-HIC Advisory Group’s activities. None of the volunteers may have served as Morrow County Commissioners or as trustees on the Hospital Board.
The MC-HIC Advisory Group is a win for Morrow County. In a fast-growing county with immediate healthcare needs, community leaders are excited to come together to chart a future for Morrow County. The MC-HIC Advisory Group will be open to the public, and the public are welcome to attend meetings consistent with applicable Ohio law.
In establishing the MC-HIC Advisory Group, everyone hasagreed to end the pending litigation. It is important to hire doctors, not lawyers. As part of this compromise, the removal of Patrick Drouhard, Olen Jackson, Bradley Wood, and Dr. Vincent Trago from the Hospital Board has been withdrawn and the related appeal dismissed.
The County Commissioners, who voted in favor of removing these men from the Hospital Board, have withdrawn all charges levied against these men that the County Commissioners previously stated were grounds for removal. Mr. Jackson, Mr. Wood, and Dr. Trago will resign, effective Sept. 1, 2020.
This will not impact the current membership of the Morrow County Hospital Board. The County Commissioners state that Mr. Drouhard, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Wood, and Dr. Trago served honorably and thank them for their public service.
As part of the agreement, Mr. Whiston and the County Commissioners agreed to dismiss their pending lawsuits against the Hospital Board in the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas and the Court of Claims. Each party will be responsible for their own legal fees and expenses.
The Morrow County Commissioners and the Hospital Board are committed to working together collaboratively for the benefit of Morrow County citizens.
Both parties look forward to the MC-HIC Advisory Group’s unbiased, thorough review of healthcare in Morrow County, and both parties look forward to hearing the MC-HIC Advisory Group’s recommendations such that the Morrow County Commissioners and the County Hospital Board can make important decisions regarding healthcare in Morrow County in the years to come.