Commissioners seek options for hospital

By Alberta Stojkovic - The Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners voiced concerns at their Wednesday meeting about the agreement the Morrow County Hospital Board is pursuing with Ohio Health for the future.

Commissioners are hopeful that many people will come to the public town meeting hosted by the hospital with questions for the board and management about options for the future. The meeting will be Wednesday, May 8 at 7 p.m. in the Cardington High School auditorium.

Commissioner Tom Whiston said they (commissioners) have been pursued by other health providers about the possible lease of the Morrow County Hospital. They have researched agreements with other county hospitals in Central Ohio and found other agreements to be much more favorable to the smaller hospitals.

At the meeting, Morrow County Prosecutor Charles Howland said his belief has long been that local management is needed and the present situation at the hospital is the “culmination of years of neglect of hospital issues.”

Howland sent a letter to Ohio Health executives Thursday at the request of the Commissioners stating that Morrow County Commissioners are the only political entity that has authority to lease the actual structure and grounds of the Morrow County Hospital.

The letter continues, “The Commissioners envision a lease similar to the one signed by Pickaway County with Ohio Health earlier this year.”

“Although we have had good relationship with Ohio Health for many years, we are considering lease options with other health providers. However, Ohio Health will be given fair consideration in the leasing decision. Also be mindful that we are concerned about the potential sale of the physician practices in light of the lease matter not being settled,” the prosecutor’s letter concludes.

Commissioner Warren Davis said that this is one of the most important issues facing the county. The hospital board has requested their presence at the board meeting Tuesday before the town hall meeting. He said the commissioners are disappointed that they have not been brought into the decision making and steering process previously.

“We hope that attendees will ask questions at the public town meeting Wednesday, May 8. Those questions need to be in writing at the request of the hospital board,” Davis said.

By Alberta Stojkovic

The Sentinel