Transparency for hospital’s future needed

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Leaders at Riverland Medical Center in Ferriday must be careful when they begin to unravel what’s likely to be a complex answer to a simple question — what should the future of the hospital be?

Hospital leaders await a report from the second round of consultants who are expected to help provide an answer to the question of whether or not the hospital should renovate its existing structure, rebuild a new structure in the same basic location or relocate.

On the first go-round hospital board members said the first consultants did a vague job. So a second group was hired.

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Hospital board members engaged a third firm that will only create a report if the second firm comes back suggesting the hospital needs to renovate or rebuild.

Consultants, particularly ones focused on hospital matters, gained a local bad rap in our area through the last few years during the debacle surrounding the former Natchez Regional Medical Center’s financial demise.

Hospital board members, and ultimately the Concordia Parish Police Jury which appoints the hospital board, must continue to use an abundance of caution and full transparency to ensure public buy-in on anything the board ultimately decides to do.

Before any big decisions on the hospital are made, we hope the hospital board will make the reports and suggestions fully open to the public and allow for much public input prior to the time at which any future directions are set in stone.