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  • Owensboro, Kentucky 42301
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Volume 4 Issue 3

Citizens have legitimate questions on hospital direction

The Owensboro Medical Health System (OMHS) Board of Directors is expected to determine the location for its new $500 million facility during a meeting today.  However, in coffee shops, civic club meetings and letters to the editor, a growing number of people are asking questions about the OMHS plans.

The hospital’s governing board is characterized by solid citizens (all volunteers) with sound discretion, and while we recognize that they have access to more information on the project than has been made public, several questions are not unreasonable to ask:

  • A few months ago, did not OMHS announce that the consideration of whether to build a new hospital or renovate and expand the existing facility was being examined by consultants and that the public would have opportunities to review the report and any recommendations before the vote was taken? What good is public input if the decision has already been made?
  • Since the board apparently has decided to build a new hospital, should not the public have an opportunity to at least comment on the site options under consideration?
  • If the Pleasant Valley Road site has been selected, the board must be confident that the state highway department will complete the access roads and ramps within the hospital construction timeline. Are there concerns about the nearby railroad and industrial facilities? If so, how will those concerns be addressed?
  • Rather than moving the main campus, did the OMHS board consider building a branch on the outskirts of town and replacing a portion of the existing campus? Such a plan would allow them to build vertically on the main campus rather than horizontally and it would not require as much land for expansion.

The public may have other questions or concerns. Open dialogue need not be acrimonious or adversarial. OMHS may be a private, nonprofit corporation that is not obligated to hold public forums prior to making decisions, but it is also our community hospital and local governments (taxpayers) have a reversionary interest. It takes a little extra time to engage in dialogue with the public, but it would increase confidence that the board and senior management is taking us in the right direction.

To respond: letters@plfo.org


Links to articles and issue briefs on health care recently published in the Public Life Advocate:

Prenatal care for the poor: Is our community positioned to meet the need?

Should OMHS build a new hospital?

Dental care for disadvantaged youth: Local options for expanded services

Health Plan: The single payer vision



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