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HMH Transition Draws Nearer – An Editorial from The News-Enterprise

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Another significant milestone was crossed last week for Hardin Memorial Health.

The hospital’s nine-member Board of Trustees adjourned its final meeting just before the noon hour Tuesday. The elected officials of county government no longer will provide leadership and direction for the hospital as the health care system’s sale to Baptist Health is set to be finalized Sept. 1 – sooner than the original planned Dec. 1 closing – to better align with the new owner’s fiscal year.

Although face masks obscured the smiles of those assembled at seats appropriately socially distanced around the boardroom, each voiced support and optimism for the hospital’s future when provided the opportunity to make final comments before the meeting closed.

Perhaps it’s fitting, if not altogether ironic that ushering in the next phase of operation for the regional health care facility occurred under the circumstances of a global pandemic.

As the transition of ownership concludes, a change in operational oversight will occur as a new 11-member administrative board takes the leadership reigns. The hospital and its associated operations also will be renamed Baptist Health Hardin – a geographic identification and rebranding the company has followed as it has expanded hospital and health care service affiliate reach across its regional footprint.
For many local folks, the main hospital campus always will be “Hardin Memorial” regardless of the name appearing on its grounds signage and entrances. For others, it may take some time to get used to the new name.

More relevant than its name is the quality of care the community has received and can continue to expect from its local hospital.

When the need for emergency, urgent or prescheduled health care and treatment arises, a hospital’s ownership and how it is governed isn’t important. In moments of crisis or concern, the simple priority is getting our loved ones the best care and attention possible through highly skilled professionals using the best in technology and technique.

Our community and the 10-county region have been blessed with such a facility staffed with trained and caring providers. We’ve benefited from the 20-plus year association HMH has had with Baptist Health.

The same familiar faces will continue to provide care and service as all current HMH non-contracted employees are retained. Dennis Johnson will remain as president of the hospital, as will other members of the HMH senior leadership team. At least six of the 11-member board of administrators will be Hardin County residents.

The transition of passing ownership the county-owned next month is viewed as necessary to maintain the hospital’s position with the latest technology and the means to financially survive. Such sales have been a trend over the past many years for local governments. Hardin County was able to make this decision in a period of financial success.

Over the long haul, Baptist Health has proven to be a worthy partner to county government in providing top quality health care at affordable rates. The investments in new facilities, recruitment of physicians and upgrades to equipment and information technology outlined under terms of the sale agreement give more reasons to believe this service only will improve into the future.

This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.

Source: The News-Enterprise
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