MOUNT GILEAD — Nine county residents were on the Morrow County Commissioners’ regular meeting agenda Wednesday morning concerning the removal of Morrow County Hospital (MCH) board trustees.
Several who spoke said they were trying to understand the issues between the hospital board’s choice of OhioHealth management and other possibilities.
Almost all who spoke expressed concerns that commissioners had taken their dispute with the hospital board too far in attempting to remove trustees Brad Wood, Olen Jackson and Dr. Vincent Trago.
Lisa Brake said she has done some research into non-profit, publicly owned hospitals. She asked commissioners if they had looked at transferring the hospital to a for-profit basis as some other hospitals had done successfully.
Commissioner Tom Whiston asked her for the list of the hospitals she had researched so the commissioners could look into it.
Leann Maceyko, who is an accountant in Cardington, said she had done some research into the hospital’s finances. She suggested the community needs to educate itself better on the hospital issues and possibly have a third party look into matters so that the hospital can move forward.
“We need to educate ourselves instead of spending money on attorneys,” Maceyko said.
Realtor Tolly Bockbrader said she feels torn between the hospital board and commissioners in trying to understand their dispute. She said it is not wrong to look at Avita as a health system possibility. She said she has had good experiences with both Morrow County Hospital and Avita’s Galion Hospital.
“I believe it’s good to look at things, but maybe it’s not been done in the right manner,” Bockbrader said. She added that the community needs to understand the issue better and the people who work at the hospital should be heard.
Hospital employee Nanci Barry has worked at MCH for 13 years. She has found the commissioners’ visits to the hospital and their approach “intimidating.” She said that in their visits to the hospital she knew of no time when they met with or listened to the hospital employees’ concerns.
Carol Arnett works for Morrow County Hospital and she hopes there can be some agreement by both parties to keep the hospital open. She has worked with Dr. Trago and believes “it isn’t right to defame the character of the three trustees.”
Before coming to MCH Arnett had worked in a hospital in the Mansfield area for 22 years. It was purchased by Avita and it closed within one year. So she has her doubts about the value of changing systems. She said OhioHealth “isn’t always right, but with them we are debt-free.”
Cardington Mayor Susie Peyton retired from MCH after 23 years. Peyton asked the commissioners to have better communication and teamwork with the community.
“It’s not too late to change your minds,” Peyton said. She added that even if they vote to remove the three trustees, they can’t ruin their excellent reputations.
Commissioners thanked those who attended the meeting. No decisions were made concerning the removal of hospital trustees. Commissioners are accepting applications for MCH board membership.