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Munroe is 'our hospital' so we should support it


Ocala, FL - October 23, 2011

Published in the Ocala Star-Banner on Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 6:30 a.m.
Special to the Star-Banner by Bill Ford

It's about time we started thinking about Munroe Regional Medical Center as the asset to Marion County that it is and always will be. If we don't, we'll have another for-profit-hospital in the area, and that's a real loss.

One has to be careful with for-profit hospitals. My wife was to have surgery at our for-profit hospital, but because we asked for a specific service, they said no and she was turned away.

Tom McNiff's attitude regarding MRMC is sound and should be taken seriously. MRMC has a good management team in place led by Steve Purves and his staff, so why not support them and let them do their job? Why? Because we have non-hospital background people on the boards, yes boards. Sure there are a few doctors, but I learned years ago that doctors make poor board members.

Apparently, all one needs as a criteria to be a board member is to have money. Having been executive director of two foundations as well as my many years in the health industry, it was an accepted policy to have people on your boards who had money. Each person wants to run that board as they would their own company. Wrong! I learned in college that a little knowledge is dangerous, and our hospital boards have just that, a little knowledge. And for heavens sake, keep attorneys off of the board as well as doctors and you'll have a more knowledgeable and workable board.

There's one simple way to raise money for “our hospital,” and that is a 1/2-cent sales tax that treats every citizen equally in supporting their hospital. Real estate taxes are not equitable. But with a small sales tax, it spreads the help for the hospital, serving every resident of not only Marion County, but the surrounding area as well, equally.

I'll wager it's attorneys and non-intellectual hospital people who want to go another route and turn the operation of MRMC over to outsiders. Stupid. As it's been reported by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals. we have the best, so why tamper with it? Average is not too bright, and that's what we have in hospital board members. A hospital is a different entity than for-profit businesses and as such must be managed with a health industry mindset.

My wife and I have both received services by MRMC and having spent most of my life in the health industry, their service was second to none. If I were to suggest anything it would be for MRMC to post a notice in the newspaper regarding the board meetings so the public could go to listen.

As a final point, many, many years ago I used to audit the then Munroe Memorial Hospital, whose administrator was Ben Wilson. We had fine management back then as well as now. Support our hospital management team, and let's continue the fine care that MRMC provides everyone in the area.