Save our hospital

On Tuesday John Hughes, CEO of Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center, announced MMSC will leave the downtown location. The T-R article states “years of planning has led the hospital to commit to move forward with a new facility at a new site.” I’m sure I’m not the only community member who doesn’t remember any public forums regarding the proposed closure of our centrally located community hospital facility. The citizens of Marshalltown are entitled to an open and transparent discussion of the future of their hospital. Not only do the board of trustees and their CEO owe it to our community to keep us fully informed of a decision with such major potential community impact, it is their fiduciary responsibility to do so.

There are many questions: Why did the MMSC trustees not obtain broad community input? Were they unsure or insecure with what the community support might be? What will become of the medical clinic and cath lab which were charitably funded by our community? What is the impact on the medical facilities which surround the existing hospital campus? How much longer will it take an ambulance to arrive from the new site? How many of our citizens are within close distance of MMSC as compared to the new site? What is the potential impact on the renovated Tallcorn Towers and Iowa Wholesale buildings? How will this affect the survival of downtown small businesses? What happens if the trustees cannot repurpose the vacated MMSC? Those and many more questions could have been asked if only we had been given the opportunity by MMSC leadership.

I recall a decision years ago by our Marshall County Supervisors to demolish our courthouse and replace it with a new facility. We were told then that renovation just could not meet our needs and would be too expensive. The courthouse was rightly renovated and preserved by the strong efforts of the “Save Our Courthouse” citizens committee. More recently, Marshalltown is the beneficiary of the Fisher renovation of its vacated downtown plant into a high-tech research facility.

If you share my concerns you should contact the MMSC Board of Trustees: Dr. Terry Briggs, Mike Mason, Jim Lowrance, Carol Hibbs, Dr. Chris Duree, Sharon Greer, Dr. Polly Hineman, Sue Martin, Kim Schryver, Kevin Swartz, Dr. Stephen Van Buren and Bruce Wirin.

Perhaps it is now time for Marshalltown residents to actively form a “Save Our Hospital” committee.