Money should be used for hospital

Published 12:41 pm Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Chilton County Commission will make an important decision Monday about the county’s future.

The Chilton County Hospital Board has asked the commission for almost $1 million to help kick-start a plan that includes the re-opening of Chilton Medical Center.

The money the hospital board wants is that from proceeds from the original sale of the hospital. We can think of no better way to spend those funds than on restoring the services of a hospital for the people of Chilton County.

The hospital board’s plan would reopen it on a trial basis and would allow for experts to evaluate whether operating it long-term is financially feasible.

If that answer is yes, the hospital board would then be positioned to purchase the facility.

The commission will discuss the matter at a special meeting Monday and could vote on handing over the money.

Chilton County residents have suffered from there being no hospital facility in the county. That will continue if the hospital remains closed.

Prospective businesses would no doubt take into consideration Chilton’s lack of a health care facility, and current businesses might think twice about expanding their operations.

The hospital board, a group that was formed when the hospital was owned and operated by the county, should be commended for working to find a solution to the problem. Before putting its plan for the hospital into action, it needs to have enough money to both operate the hospital during the trial and then make the purchase at the end of the trial.

The funds the board asked for are proceeds from the sale of the hospital in 1983 that the board put under the commission’s control. The commission has been good stewards of those funds and should be commended for hanging onto it. They correctly want to know details about the plan before making this important decision.

Commissioners appointed the hospital board members, giving them the task of promoting the county’s healthcare needs. Now, it’s time for the commission to show its support of that endeavor.

Chilton County needs its hospital. Local leaders have a chance to set the hospital on a path that could lead to a permanent solution. We join the community in hoping Monday’s special meeting is a large, significant step down that path.