To the editor:
It has come to my attention that the hospital authority is trying to do away with our hospital and that it will become an outpost for University Hospital.
University is an Augusta hospital with employees from Augusta. Aren't we supposed to support our citizens? If McDuffie County Regional Hospital relocates into the county, many businesses and employees will be negatively affected. The proposal with University Hospital has been kept under wraps (confidential) for some reason. Could it be that the hospital authority board wants to make selfish decisions for the citizens and taxpayers of McDuffie County without their consent and input?
It is our right as taxpayers of McDuffie County to be fully informed of the impact, both positive and negative, about our current facility and about their decisions being made behind closed doors.
The hospital board has no right to deprive us of our incomes and our conveniences. One of the first things the new employers (University Hospital) will do is reduce the work force to save money. If the hospital leaves its current location, it will cause a huge vacuum on the Warrenton Highway, Mount Pleasant Road and Ware Street (where the hospital owns 20-plus more acres). Many of the businesses and doctor's offices will either be forced to relocate or be forced to close.
We are in horrific times today with high unemployment, taxes, and reductions in the labor force. Does the hospital authority realize that closing our hospital will add to these problems in McDuffie County for everyone?
The hospital is still in good shape, thanks to the ongoing renovation. It is more cost-effective to renovate and renew. The hospital has $4 million in capital improvement funds for use in this area. It is quite possible that University Hospital will merely put in a small "Doc in the Box" or some small emergency care in place of our current facility. Then all patients would be sent to the downtown Augusta University.
We should carefully consider cancelling the management contract with Quorum, hire an administrator, and allow our doctors to manage the hospital since they are our hands-on professionals.
The citizens and taxpayers of McDuffie County must be informed and heard before a decision is reached.