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Letters to the Editor for Oct. 12, 2012


Ocala, FL - October 12, 2012
Published on Friday, October 12, 2012

The Value of Munroe Regional's volunteers

Regarding whether or not to vote for the Munroe Regional Medical Center bond issue in November, there is one important area that needs to be considered: the help and monetary value that is supplied by the over 1,600 teenagers and adults who volunteer their services each year.

The number of hours these volunteers give to the hospital in 2011 was the equivalent of $3.4 million and, in addition, for the year 2012, the Volunteer Auxiliary has pledged $600,000 to renovate and expand the Auxiliary Community Center, which is used not only to train and educate hospital staff and volunteers but also to provide free public information on a vast range of health issues.

If the bond issue fails and our not-for-profit community hospital is leased and operated by a for-profit organization, I wonder how many of these volunteers will continue to offer their free services, which significantly impact every aspect of the hospital. After all, a for-profit organization is just that, for profit. It is to make sure that financial returns are made to shareholders. It might be deemed that volunteering services would simply provide the shareholders with a greater return on their investment.

If such an unfortunate event takes place, it is impossible to determine how many volunteers would remain in service, but when the equivalent wages and fundraising that they save are considered then it becomes quite obvious that whatever the amount, we can be sure that a for-profit organization would simply add that to the fees billed to each and every patient — regardless of ability to pay.

I urge everyone to give a resounding positive vote for the MRMC bond issue. It is vitally essential for the health of our entire community.

Basil O. Bristow