Show your support for our community hospital Tuesday

Nov 07, 2013

A public hearing Tuesday on the future of Haywood Regional Medical Center will hopefully be a two-way street.

Hospital leaders will be laying out the particulars of a proposal from Duke LifePoint to purchase the facility, and company officials will also have a team at the hearing to explain their mission and hopefully answer questions. Ironically, when proceeds from a bond referendum weren’t sufficient to build the hospital in 1926, it was the Duke Endowment that made up the difference.

In turn, we hope that citizens will be there to speak out about the importance of having a viable hospital in our community.

We have heard concerns from readers already about switching from a non-profit to a for-profit operation, and how long-time employees already on a public employee retirement system will fare in a transition.

Both hospital and county leaders have made it clear that the situation at the hospital is bleak and the Duke LifePoint offer is one that will allow the hospital in our county to continue to operate.

That’s good news. Haywood County has a large retirement population and a reputation as a great second-home community,  both of which rely on nearby, quality medical care. In addition, there are 900 hospital employees, all of whom have been offered a job at comparable wages and a private retirement plan.

Having a hospital — and the services that accompany a vibrant hub for medical care — is critical to Haywood County. We’ve been told the choice is Duke LifePoint or insolvency at our community hospital.  It is up to community residents to support both the plan and the hospital. Even a for-profit hospital won’t stick around if it can’t make money.

That makes the choice an easy one. Are we going to support the people who provide medical services to our community or not? If we don’t, then no one, including Duke Lifepoint will be able to keep it solvent. So, not only do we need to support the hospital, but we need to support the doctors and clinics that make us a choice for quality healthcare.

We hope people speak up at Tuesday’s hearing to let Duke LifePoint know of the support for their plan and provide an indication of future support for Haywood Regional Medical Center to let them know it is a facility they will continue or start to use.

Let’s pull together to ensure quality healthcare for generations to come in Haywood. The hearing is 6 p.m. Nov. 12. Don’t miss an opportunity to speak out.

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