June 7, 2012 9:50:38 AM
Deja vu all over again
As I sat in the Board of Supervisors' meeting on Monday during the discussion regarding the sale of our hospital, I could not help but think of a similar event seven years ago when a group of doctors from Tupelo, powerful leaders from MSU and powerful legislators got together and bypassed the State Department of Health to obtain a certificate of need for MSU and Premier Radiology to obtain an MRI machine provided to them by taxpayer dollars.
I remember all of the rhetoric and promises to "improve heath care" and to take health care to a new level. The end result of this agenda was competition for radiology services with our local hospital and no new services were added. These same doctors now have a request to our Board of Supervisors for Premier Radiology's tax exemption.
We also now have powerful elected officials wanting to sell our hospital "to improve health care." They cannot say what needs improving. They have not even talked with the experts in health care in our community -- our local physicians, the hospital administration and the OCH Board of Trustees. Yet, they have talked with outside sources.
What is the agenda of these board members? How do they plan to spend the money from a sale of the hospital? Is this expenditure sustainable? What about the potentially hundreds of jobs that will most certainly be lost if this sale takes place? What about the reduction of quality healthcare services that is certain to follow? What about the long-term negative impact this will have on our local economy? How can the board members have a total disregard for the 61 percent of the citizens who supported the bond issue which is support for the hospital?
I practiced general surgery in this community for 34 years. I was always proud of the quality of care that my patients received at our hospital. I challenge anyone to find a community of our size with the quality and array of healthcare services that we have here. Also, our hospital's administration and Board of Trustees are readily accessible to hear our thoughts and concerns--unlike a private organization where the buck will stop at headquarters that are likely not just out-of-town, but out-of state. Our hospital's leaders and Board have been very good stewards of our health care dollars and are continuously reinvesting profits to improve services, not fatten their own wallets. As a result, our hospital is a progressive, financially sound facility.
We have a locally owned hospital that is competitive with private facilities many times its size. It is a tremendous asset to our citizens and our county. So, why would we even consider selling it? The $35,000 it will cost for an outside analysis to entertain this agenda should be better spent on other county needs.
T. Steve Parvin, M. D.
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