What is one of the most important assets a community has? It is a hospital, our hospital. This hospital was a vision of people like Hollis Boyer and others. They along with past administrations made our hospital a reality.

“Today, health care in rural Missouri is an economic and patient care challenge. As a whole, rural Missourians are less affluent, often more likely to have chronic health conditions than their city counterparts. People living in rural areas may be less likely to have health insurance. This in turn can create less cost reimbursement for local health care providers. 46 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are located in rural areas. Research indicates 90 percent of seniors want to age in their home areas’ (Source: Rural Missouri Magazine).

Where does S.C.M.H. fit in this scenario? We, for the most part, fall into this category. How we address these problems depends on a number of factors. Communication, both verbal and non-verbal, is key to maintaining a viable hospital. Communication should be insightful, clear, responsive and truthful to questions posed by the community, concerning hospital issues. Communication is a two way street. Currently, elected board members and CEO, appear to be on a one way street when it comes to answering questions regarding hospital issues.

Citizens have asked questions including, but not limited to: billing, bidding procedures, RFP’s, staff attrition, financial agreements, USDA compliance, manager agreement with CQHP, etc. The board response is almost non-existent. Golden opportunities have been missed. A Q. and A. format would have gone a long way in giving the public the opportunity to assess the board/public interactions. Surely, the board and CEO understand we are participants in our health care and the well being of the hospital.

Requesting a public forum to address hospital issues appears to be an affront to the majority of board members. However, one board member decided it was high time to tell the public his thoughts. Very revealing! I learned ” we the people” are lazy, irresponsible, complainers, naysayers, grumblers, no shows to work, stand on the side lines and throw rotten tomatoes at the CEO. The new “Buzz Word” has changed from Outsourced to Best Sourced. Wow! What a way to create a negative impact to our community and workforce.

The well-being of Our Hospital depends on a positive attitude, creating a productive work place environment of all workers, not just a few. A positive attitude is necessary for recruiting and maintaining a staff that can deliver health care needs of the community.

The elected board members have an obligation to the community to be up front about issues regarding the health of Our Hospital. Board members, I hope you are up to the challenge. We, the people continue to request an open public forum with a moderator. This setting allows questions to be openly asked and answered with truthfulness and respect for all.

Sincerely,

Lee Shultz, RN, BSN