MOUNT GILEAD — At its June 5 meeting, Morrow County Commissioners gave a report on the results of returns for their Request for Proposal (RFP) sent to eight health care providers to lease or purchase the Morrow County Hospital.
Three of the eight have returned information.
Health systems requesting information and financial reports for the hospital are Avita Health System, Cleveland Clinic and Quorum Health Resources. Locally, Quorum management works with Knox Community Hospital and Wooster Community Hospital.
Health care providers receiving the commissioners’ RFP were: OhioHealth, Avita, Blanchard Valley Health Care System, Cleveland Clinic, Knox Community Hospital, Mount Carmel Health System, The Ohio State University Medical Center and Tri-Health.
“Unfortunately, we have been denied access to the hospital’s public records up to this point,” said commissioner Tom Whiston who received requests for these records from providers who are interested in the possibility of lease or lease purchase.
Commissioners presented a letter they received Friday, May 31 from Morrow County Hospital board president Pat Drouhard. It states a concern of the hospital board that the Requests For Proposal for the sale or lease of the hospital were issued without the approval of the hospital board.
“By issuing the RFP with neither statutory nor common law authority, you are illegally attempting to supplant the business judgement of the Board,” the letter states.
Since the hospital board entered into a contract with OhioHealth, Drouhard points out the concern that the commissioners’ RFP and any subsequent contract they attempt would likely violate the contract with OhioHealth.
Drouhard’s letter concludes by asking commissioners to “cease and desist” all activities associated with the RFP. “Failure to cease and desist may require immediate legal action.”
Commissioner Warren Davis said they would prefer to work with the hospital board in the lease, or lease purchase of the hospital. However, they have been “shut out of their meetings for the past three years.”
“We would like to be in concert with the hospital board and management like they are in Pickaway County,” Whiston said. “There the county, city and hospital work together to grow their health care locally.”
The commissioners contend that the present contract that was written by OhioHealth puts the hospital on a track for closure as they continue to eliminate services and with the sale of the physicians’ practices last month.
Commissioners maintain there is a complete separation of the hospital building and property, which is owned by the county, and the agreement in management of operations by OhioHealth. Whiston said that the lease or purchase of the hospital building is not included in the RFP sent out by the hospital consultant.
“We in no way diminish the strength of the OhioHealth in our endeavor,” Whiston added. “Our goal is to grow health care in our county so that people in the county have access to services right here.”
“The commissioners hope to work with the hospital board to seek a beneficial lease, or lease purchase for the hospital in the benefit of the county,” Whiston said.