|The Villages -
September 22, 2011|
Published in the Ocala Star-Banner on Friday, September 23, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
Last Sunday, the Star-Banner published two essays about the future of Munroe Regional Medical Center. Mike Sizemore and Dr. Rangaswamy Asokan wrote with passion and precision about what is at stake for MRMC.
Dr. Asokan spelled out clearly how managing a hospital is different from running other enterprises. Times have changed. Munroe has had to face competition from new hospitals and other medical facilities. He explained how insurance companies, not providers, decide what they will pay for services and then drag the process out. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical and equipment suppliers insist on being paid before their products are used in patient care.
You cannot use criteria developed for evaluating non-medical private enterprises when looking at the kind of public service Munroe provides.
Sizemore was spot on when he identified the ideology that County Commissioner Stan McLain and others use to justify their studied ignorance of the quality of care Munroe is now providing. Their ideology blinds them to the actual return on investment that Munroe creates. Their ideology assumes that “privatizing” Munroe, or turning it over to a for-profit hospital chain, will save money and maintain quality patient care.
Their “no new taxes” mantra is wearing thin. Providing quality health care at the lowest possible cost is the public service that Munroe provides. A modest infusion of tax revenue will keep this award-winning institution fully functional as an asset in our community.
I am glad that voices like Sizemore's and Asokan's are being heard. Munroe needs and deserves taxpayer support. The preternatural ideological blindness of Commissioner McLain and his manic mantra, “No new taxes!”, keeps him and others like him from responding with objectivity. Ironically, the County Commission, as Sizemore pointed out, is giving millions of dollars to builders who have no obligation to pay for the infrastructure needed to accommodate anticipated growth.
We need a County Commission that prizes people over projects!
Roger F. Cooper