For too long, I have watched, along with you, as the Fulton County Hospital struggled to survive. From the hiring -- and subsequent dismissal -- of two physicians, to the remodeling of an old clinic, to the rejection of one management bid only to accept another.
It seemed like our Hospital Board of Governor's were shooting hilly nilly at any answer that might bring with it a change in revenue.
A special Quorum Court meeting held on Wednesday, Jan. 11 cleared the way for the hospital to sell it's home health license for $1.7 million and finally get itself back into some semblance of solvency. That, coupled with the excellent management team from OMC which has come in and made difficult but needed changes -- I have hope that our hospital is finally moving forward, towards a brighter future.
Our hospital is celebrating it's 50th year this year. For those of you who read the 50 Years Ago page in The News each week, it seems there has been a story in the Salem Headlight talking about the groundbreaking, the new doctors being hired and the new Board of Governors being appointed. You can tell what huge news this hospital was back in 1962. And it remains big news today.
The hospital is the cornerstone of our county. It is a main employer of local citizens; it provides immediate medical care in times of emergency; it also provides special testing, such as blood work, x-rays, and other important ancillary procedures that cannot be done in our local clinics.
A local hospital can mean so much to an area's economy, that even Sharp County is trying to fund a hospital in the Highland area, despite the fact that our own Fulton County Hospital is just a mere 20 minutes away from Ash Flat.
I've received some notes of criiticism recently that perhaps we are spending too much time covering the hospital in the paper. In my eyes, the hospital is a critical component of our town of Salem, and of Fulton County, and as such, our coverage will continue.
Through the bad and the good, we'll be there, keeping citizens up to speed with what's happening and focusing on the future of not only our hospital's fortunes, but our community's fortunes as a whole.