Board of trustees takes next step to address future of Morrow County Hospital

Staff Report

MOUNT GILEAD — For the past 10 months the Morrow County Hospital Board of Trustees, in conjunction with a national consulting firm (ECG Management Consultants), has worked to determine how best to ensure that Morrow County residents continue to have access to a healthcare system that is stable, sustainable and can adjust to population changes as the county grows.

The Board’s decision-making process took into consideration the following:

• The availability of health care services to Morrow County residents.

• The impact on the well-being of all Morrow County Hospital employees.

• How best to sustain and expand Morrow County primary care services.

• How best to address physician recruitment in the future.

• What will Morrow County Hospital’s financial picture be in five years?

• Can Morrow County Hospital operate without its current tax levy?

This past Wednesday, the Board of Trustees signed a non-binding letter of intent with OhioHealth that seeks to strengthen the two entities’ already close ties. While a county-owned hospital, Morrow County Hospital has been managed by OhioHealth for more than 30 years.

“The execution of the letter of intent marks an important milestone in a thorough and comprehensive process undertaken by Morrow County Hospital to fully understand the range of potential long-term partnership options available to it. Morrow County Hospital’s decision to undertake this process, which ultimately identified OhioHealth as the optimal partner, reflects its long-term commitment to compassionate, high-quality healthcare in Morrow County, and is a proactive step to ensure Morrow County Hospital remains well positioned into the future,” a news release states.

“From this point forward, the Board will enter a period of negotiations with OhioHealth that will define just how this will be done. Those negotiations will include, but would not be limited to, OhioHealth’s employment of the physicians currently employed by Morrow County Hospital (doctor-patient relationships would remain unchanged; the primary care practice operations would remain unchanged or be expanded).”

The board will also include negotiations over OhioHealth’s continued management of Morrow County Hospital as a critical access hospital and the possible future construction of an OhioHealth facility to meet community needs in the county if market forces and federal and state support of hospital-based health care create uncertainty about the viability of small, critical access hospitals.

Staff Report