|Click Image to Hear Full Meeting Audio|
About 100 people crammed into the Marion Ed-Tech Center meeting room Thursday evening for a public forum on the proposed sale of Crittenden Health System.
The crowd included about two dozen local government and hospital officials who have been working on a deal to sell the real estate and healthcare operations to a private group. They say it's in the best interest of the community and long-term health of the hospital. Some in the audience were not convinced and spoke their objections and concerns.
Crittenden County Judge-Executive Perry Newcom opened the two-hour meeting by offering a visual presentation with slides and points on the background of Crittenden Hospital and the general condition of rural healthcare in America. Newcom also answered questions. He was joined at the front of the room throughout the meeting by CHS Board Chairman Charlie Hunt, County Attorney Rebecca Johnson and Terry Nichols, an executive with Rural Hospital Group, the Kansas City, Mo., corporation wanting to purchase the hospital. The group has been managing CHS for about a year.
The information and discussion offered will be used by county government and hospital directors in the coming weeks while they weigh their decision on whether to pull the trigger on the deal. The Crittenden Press will have an in-depth article next week, outlining the community's concerns and the responses by those orchestrating this proposed deal.
Crittenden Fiscal Court, which owns the hospital real estate, appears to be the lynchpin in the decision-making process. The court meets again 8:30am Thursday, Sept. 20.
If you were not able to attend last night's forum, but would like to listen to a full audio of the meeting, The Press is making it available online. What you will find on the audio recording is Judge Newcom and other presenters making points and answering questions. Sometimes the questions are difficult to hear on the audio, but the answers are clear. Click Here to listen.
A recent Crittenden Press poll on Twitter about the potential sale of the hospital found that few patently disagree with the idea of selling it, but most want more information. Sixty-five votes were cast in the unscientific poll. Forty-two percent agree with the premise of selling the hospital, 11 percent disagreed and 47 percent said they need more information before responding. That is why your community newspaper has been on top of this major news story since its beginning a few weeks ago.
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The Crittenden Press
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