MOUNT GILEAD — Newly elected county commissioners Tim Abraham and Tim Siegfried opened the new year and their first meeting as commissioners with hopeful comments.
Each commissioner commented on the court-ordered settlement agreement that was approved by the Morrow County Hospital Board and the County Commissioners Board last Wednesday with Commissioner Tom Whiston and former commissioners Burgess Castle and Warren Davis.
“I’m very excited about it,” Abraham said about the settlement agreement reached between the hospital and commissioners. “I think it is a very positive step. Hopefully we can come together and move forward on this.”
Siegfried agreed that the agreement with the hospital board is a positive step.
“I would like to have a chance to read over everything to know what all exactly transpired,” Siegfried added.
Whiston noted, “We are a growing county and we have an opportunity now to expand and improve our healthcare.”
Whiston spoke about some of the details of the settlement agreement with the hospital and was optimistic about the new healthcare citizens’ advisory group that is required by the agreement.
The new committee is named the Morrow County Health Initiative Citizens Advisory Group. The group will not make decisions regarding healthcare in the county or decisions on the hospital. This group is tasked with developing a five-year plan to improve healthcare in the county. The group is to do research on options and opportunities in healthcare and then make recommendations to the commissioners and hospital board.
Whiston noted that three members of the group will be chosen by the hospital board, three members by the commissioners and a seventh will be selected by the group. All lawsuits by both parties have been dropped with the goal of “hiring doctors, not lawyers.”
“Other than agriculture, healthcare has the biggest economic impact on our county,” Whiston said. “It is important to have good healthcare locally, and with specialists available locally.”
Whiston said he looks forward to working with both Abraham and Siegfried as he completes his term as a commissioner.
Abraham and Siegfried said they will attend educational courses for new commissioners this month. The courses will be held virtually.