To the Editor:

The Morrow County Hospital and the management and ownership thereof is and has been a hot topic for quite a few years. It is now becoming critical.

Our hospital is currently managed by Ohio Health. They have been managing the hospital since 1984. In that time we have watched them grow. They are continually offering new services, updating equipment and providing excellent care. They are known and praised for their stroke triage. If it were not for them the outcome of many stroke and heart attack patients would not be as positive as it is.

The land and the building is currently owned by Morrow County.

Our County Commissioners are people we elect because we trust that they will care for our land and buildings in the county the way that is best for the people within the county. Unfortunately time and time again we see this is not the case.

If people do not agree with them, they remove them or replace them with people who will. This is exactly what happened with our hospital board. Now we have new people on the board that have no background in running a hospital or healthcare. The previous hospital board hired a nationally recognized hospital management consulting firm to conduct a professional RFP(Request for Proposal). After reaching out to a number of healthcare entities most determined that our hospital was not a good fit for them.

Their reasons have not changed.

Two entities responded. Ohio Health and Avita.

Over an 18 month period the two responsponses were evaluated. Avita consistently refused to turn over their audits even after signing a non-disclosure agreements. This refusal to allow an independent review of their financial status should send up red flags to everyone. Instead , what is happening is the new hospital board is conducting an amateur RFP process with no professional assistance in what appears to be a smoke and mirrors attempt to force Ohio Health out and let Avita swoop in and save our hospital.

This should not be permitted to happen. We do not have time to be playing these politically motivated games. Our current agreement with Ohio Health expires in December 2022.

That is not enough time to get a new hospital in there and get it up and running with the same quality of care that we currently have.

I firmly believe that we need to extend our agreement with Ohio Health for 2 years with a 6 month out clause like we have now. That will allow time for this new RFP without all the pressure to get it done before the management agreement expires. The people in the county need to know that all operations, their physicians, billing and services will still be available on January 1, 2023. Extending our agreement will accomplish that and give the community peace of mind.

Thank You,

Teresa De La Cruz

Mt. Gilead, Ohio