This is no time for squabbling

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 17, 2002

It is past time for the Marengo County Commission and the board of the Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital to sit down for a serious, realistic meeting on indigent care. It should never have come to the point of a suit filed by the hospital against the county.

There are reasonable people on each side. Why has this not been resolved?

This is not the time &045; with the county needing to put its best foot forward in industrial recruitment &045; to have the county and the hospital fighting over an issue which will not go away.

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Different commissioners question the management of the hospital and the lack of a certain process for qualifying which patients were indigent. These issues could be dealt with in negotiation.

It may have to be long, hard, tedious negotiation over several meetings, but it is ridiculous that leaders of our county and hospital cannot find the time or a way to come together.

It is understandable that the county does not have money to pay the indigent bill, and a tax may have to come which will help pay that bill. But we shouldn’t make the hospital the villain and the cause for a tax.

The commissioners and the board need to put personalities aside and work for the betterment of the community. The hospital is a vital part of our community, and must be kept on a firm footing.

If there are issues with the facility’s management, commissioners should express that issue with the hospital administration along with satisfying the legal necessity to pay for indigent care.

We don’t need squabbling. The Hyundai plant announcement has offered the region the possibility of better days ahead. Let’s not waste time with community leaders fighting over an issue that could have been resolved.