Misgivings for commissioners’ hospital decisions

As a long-time resident of Morrow County, member of Mount Gilead Village Council, and a nurse of over three decades, I am immensely concerned about the future of our hospital. It is the largest employer in the village.

I have heard things being presented to the community that were concerning and warranted further investigation. I started researching this issue when the question arose as to why the OhioHealth contract was renewed instead of other options several years ago.

I requested financial documents and spent time speaking to hospital leadership. I attended a number of county meetings as well as the presentation given by Avita in September 2019.

I concluded that much of the information being presented to the community was either misunderstood, inaccurate, or misrepresented by those who did not wish to continue with OhioHealth after the hospital board had already made their decision.

I became increasingly concerned when the county appointing authority systematically started removing long time and well respected hospital board members including the only two members with extensive medical background.

As part of the settlement agreement of the lawsuits between the commissioners and the hospital, a citizen’s advisory committee was formed. I applied. I was one of the three members appointed by the hospital board to the seven member health advisory committee and one of only two with any medical background.

The recommendations are simply recommendations, and our committee had no authority to implement them.

The report of recommendations issued was split 4 to 3. Those with the extensive medical background disagreed with the four members who constituted the majority. It is my firm belief that what the three of us recommended would be what is best for the hospital. The majority members of the committee are well-respected in the community, however, they cannot possibly grasp the complex world of medicine and medical reimbursement in the few short months we were given.

I personally felt extremely rushed to finish given the time limitation given to us by the settlement agreement. Increasing that feeling of being rushed were comments made by two other members of the committee. One member said on more than one occasion that they were not going to spend another Monday night on this issue because they were missing (high school sports) games. Another member consistently reminded us that their busy season at work would be coming up soon and wanted to finish quickly.

Fast forward to the meeting on March 7th by the hospital appointing authority, which consists of the three commissioners and Judge Hickson. I was unable to attend, however, I have since listened to a recording of the meeting. I was considerably disturbed by the actions of the three commissioners. Eight people applied for this position. Judge Hickson asked the commissioners if any of the candidates had been interviewed. The reply was “no.” The judge then asked for the meeting to be tabled until everyone was interviewed. This would give them the ability to appoint the best candidate. He then elaborated that he believe the current board member Carolyn Beall had been a board member for many years and had the necessary information to help with the process moving forward.

He then offered that a person with a medical background would be a good choice for the board as well. I agree with those assessments. To say the commissioners where disrespectful and dismissive is an understatement. It was apparent they had their minds made up before coming into the meeting. They instead appointed the person that was the chairman of the citizen advisory committee and the member who was concerned about their busy season at work.

I believe this was a political decision as they had been one of the four that recommended a new Request For Proposal, RFP, to sell or change the management of Morrow County Hospital. I do not believe the commissioners are making the best decisions for the future of our hospital.

Donna Carver

Mount Gilead