Letter to the Editor: Local control is key issue in hospital district election

accesories-text-editor-hiFollowing is my assessment of the current situation regarding the Glen Rose Medical Center and the upcoming election for a hospital district. The news reports, political ads, comments attributed to elected officials and other well-meaning as well as derogatory activities have only served to cloud and confuse an issue of utmost importance to all citizens of Somervell County.

We need a good hospital. We have one.

What is the best way to solve the financial crisis that exists? That is the question we face in this election and it is one faced by other hospitals, government bodies, many businesses and most Americans in these trying times. To arrive at an answer, we must remove the clouds and confusion, address the situation in its simplest terms and take action.

In this case, it is a vote. Yes or no, one time, one answer and one result — a solution or continued confusion and bickering.

Once again, we are hearing and reading that a hospital district has become a divisive issue. Medical care should be an issue that brings us together rather than divides us. (Try telling that to the learned scholars in Washington who created the problem.) It is not surprising that finances have become an issue. Rural hospitals throughout the country are experiencing financial difficulty due to federal programs and mandates, Medicare, Medicaid, payment shortfalls, indigent care and other factors beyond local control. In this election, local control is the issue, not local taxes.

The Glen Rose Medical Center has a solid, positive reputation that has taken years to build. It is one of our greatest assets. The management and the quality of the medical staff are at an all-time high. Local taxes are not the issue. Local taxes have paid for it and have kept it in operation. Local control under the Commissioners Court has built the Glen Rose Medical Center to what it is today and it is time for it to become self-supporting.

Most communities vote in a hospital district so they can have local quality medical care and are willing to pay for it. We already have quality medical care. Are we willing to continue to pay for it and keep it under our local control with a board that we elect?

If, as an alternative, an outside firm leases the  hospital, that company, under the terms of the lease agreement, will control our hospital, our medical care, decisions regarding staffing and services, and pricing. A lease contract has not been offered, would require lengthy negotiations and, I suggest, be more divisive than the issue we face today, which is to accept responsibility for the medical care we are already receiving.

I am! I will vote YES on May 11.

Larry P. Smith

Glen Rose

2 Responses to Letter to the Editor: Local control is key issue in hospital district election

  1. Larry P. Smith Reply

    May 1, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Kathryn
    Thanks! The paragraphing is a nice touch.
    Although I am computer and internet illiterate, I hope that more people will start taking advantage of the service you provide thru the Current and comment on your excellent articles.
    You get us the news when it is still news or “current”. Great choice of the name.

    • Kathryn Reply

      May 2, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Thank you, Larry. Actually, the name I chose was a play on “current events,” but it also refers to the river currents and to Glen Rose’s famous gossip mill, which some in town refer to as the “undercurrent.” I picked that up for the title of my editor’s column, although I don’t base it on gossip! Thanks for reading.

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