Commissioners say hospital not cooperating


As Morrow County Commissioners, our job is to make Morrow County a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

As part of that job, we’ve made keeping the Morrow County Hospital open, and expanding healthcare services here a top priority. If the hospital were to close, as the hospital board’s own documents make clear is their plan, the entire community would suffer from job loss, decreased taxes, and reduced access to an emergency room for everyone.

We’ve made our position clear for more than a year and the hospital board and OhioHealth have made their position clear. The board believes people in Morrow County should be happy with nearby emergency rooms in adjoining counties or Columbus. We believe Morrow County taxpayers, who’ve invested tens of millions of tax dollars in the hospital, should keep our own hospital.

For months, we’ve asked the hospital board to answer basic questions about transparency and their goals. Simple questions, like how much the taxpayer funded CEO of the hospital is paid or whether the hospital follows competitive bidding laws required by Ohio law. They have steadfastly refused to answer those questions that every other government agency in Ohio is required to answer.

For example, the CEO of the Ohio State Medical Center made $1,450,000 last year; you can find that data on their website. How much did Morrow County Hospital CEO Chad Miller make? They won’t say.

The public should know that in addition to ignoring our calls for basic transparency, the hospital board has

refused to attend quarterly financial meetings for more than a year — citing their own lawsuit filed against the County last July. And just last month they refused to undergo a partial audit by the Ohio Auditor of State, all while continuing to hold multiple secret meetings in violation of Ohio’s Open Meetings Law.

As County Commissioners, we know that budgets are going to be tight given current economic uncertainty. We’ve offered to mediate several of these legal disputes to save taxpayer money. The hospital board has refused to mediate, preferring to continue to pay attorney fees.

The legal bills in this matter continue to rack up because the hospital board refuses to compromise, refuses to provide taxpayers with basic answers and transparency, and is working to make every legal action as expensive to the county as possible.

We were elected to look out for the interests of Morrow County and not just the interests of the hospital board or OhioHealth. We want transparency and we want taxpayers to keep the hospital that they’ve invested so many millions of dollars in over so many years.

Sincerely,

Morrow County Commissioners