Important decision requires open thinking

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Oct. 22, 2012 at 5:22 a.m.

Citizens Medical Center is an important part of the Victoria community. The county-owned hospital offers necessary, life-saving services, as well as many other important procedures and preventative testing to help people of the Crossroads remain healthy and happy.

This hospital is so important to our community, we were glad to see the board bring in consultants to help develop a plan for the hospital's future. Cain Brothers worked for weeks looking at the Citizens system before presenting a $75,000 report. Their report says Citizens remaining as an independent, county-owned operation will be "unlikely to be easily attained." The report detailed three other options for the hospital: Hiring a management company to run the hospital, leasing the hospital or selling to a nonprofit or for-profit company.

With these factors in mind, as well as the anticipation of a $10 million loss this fiscal year, we encourage Citizens and all those involved in making this vital decision to carefully examine and consider each of the three options presented by the consultants. We have always been proud to have two solid, successful hospital systems in our county capable of offering treatment and services to people all over the Crossroads. Now, Citizens is facing the beginning of what could be, at the very least, a hard time and, at worst, a financial catastrophe if these concerns are not addressed. In the past, Citizens has been successful and self-supporting, but as the health care industry evolves, Citizens must find the correct path to adjust to these changes.

Though there will be hardships to overcome, the report was not all gloom and doom. Citizens also has key financial strengths that will give the hospital an advantage: a strong cash position, lack of long-term debt, favorable ability to get long-term debt financing and no pressing need to borrow for maintenance or capital expenditure items.

With these advantages, a good understanding of each option presented and a commitment to offering the best medical service possible, we hope the county commissioners make the decision that will best allow the hospital to adapt and continue to offer the same quality service Victoria has come to expect from their county hospital.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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