Com­mu­nity hospi­tal

The Covington News - - OPINION -

One of the cor­ner­stones of pride in the New­ton County com­mu­nity is that we have our own hospi­tal; and through­out its ex­is­tence the tax­pay­ers have sup­ported its de­vel­op­ment.

This past week hospi­tal of­fi­cials went to the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers to ask for an additional .3 mills for this year’s op­er­at­ing budget. The of­fi­cials said the in­crease over the hospi­tal’s al­lot­ted 1.2 mills was nec­es­sary be­cause of the in­creased cost of in­di­gent care brought on in part by Oba­macare re­quire­ments.

This re­quest was met with a luke­warm re­cep­tion at best by the com­mis­sion­ers.

Nearby, Rock­dale County has its own com­mu­nity hospi­tal, and up to about five years ago the sup­port of the hospi­tal was be­gin­ning to drain the county cof­fers.

Af­ter much dis­cus­sion and con­cern by com­mu­nity mem­bers, Rock­dale’s hospi­tal was sold to a pri­vate con­cern, Life Point, which op­er­ates 23 hos­pi­tals na­tion­wide and spe­cial­izes in the oper­a­tion of com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals.

Since that pur­chase Rock­dale Hospi­tal has im­proved its ser­vice in al­most ev­ery cat­e­gory; it also has at­tached additional doc­tors’ prac­tices to its ser­vice.

In­stead of a drain on the county’s fi­nances, they have paid $9.4 mil­lion in taxes to Rock­dale County over the past five years.

In ad­di­tion, the Life Point folks have been ac­tive part­ners with the county and the lo­cal cham­ber.

The rev­enue from the sale of the non­profit hospi­tal has been shared with dif­fer­ent com­mu­nity non­prof­its over the last five years, which has been an­other ma­jor plus.

We need and want to keep our com­mu­nity hospi­tal. It’s an im­por­tant part of the pack­age that at­tracts busi­ness to our com­mu­nity.

There is go­ing to come a point where the lo­cal tax­pay­ers are not go­ing to be able to sus­tain the hospi­tal.

Our sug­ges­tion is that lo­cal of­fi­cials at least look at pri­va­tiz­ing our “not for profit” hospi­tal if we want to re­main com­pet­i­tive and up to date for the fu­ture.

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