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Weekly Newspaper and Tourism Guide for Ward County Trans Pecos, Big Bend of West Texas


Thursday, January 8, 1998

Monahan's Well:

By Jerry Curry

Come next Spring, if we get real lucky, the nearly Hundred Years War over Ward Memorial Hospital and the way in which it is operated may end. At the least, a meaningful truce will be declared.

County Judge Sam G. Massey is working hard to make this happen in concert with the County Commissioners, the Hospital Board of Managers and Hospital Administrator William F. O'Brien. Everyone is working on this problem. Finally it seems everyone has agreed that the time to end this thing has come for at least two reasons.

The primary reason, of course, is the health and well being of every citizen of Ward County. The second is that we, as a county and as citizens, no longer can afford to continue this fight.

No one seems to know for sure when this began but they are agreed that the issue that keeps it going is money, money to cover hospital costs and money to provide health care.

Administrator O'Brien feels that the most likely option the Hospital Board of Managers will exercise may well be leasing the facility to a major health care provider.

Massey already has said he believes the County Commissioners have forgotten about the suggestion a few months back that the best thing to do with the hospital was to sell it to a for profit corporation. Since that time, the county commissioners have focused on several lease proposals from various companies, most of them for profit corporations.

At least one of those for profit companies has dropped out of the race to control the hospital. That firm is Quorum of Brentwood, Tenn. Quorum is an acronym for Quality Health Resources Inc. Quorum has told Hospital Board Chair Glenn Vance their offer to lease the hospital was not valid in the New Year.

"Not knowing when this issue may, or will be resolved, we feel it necessary to stand by our original agreement with you of a Dec. 31, 1997, deadline on our Management Proposal. Effective Dec. 31, Quorum respectfully withdraws its proposal for the management of Ward Memorial Hospital," Quorum's Henry E. Johs wrote Vance. But although Quorum is out of the lease-the-hospital sweepstakes, a barrel of proposals remain from for profit health care agencies. These include plans from Community Health Care Corp. of Dallas, Community Health Care Systems of Nashville, Tenn.; and Community Health Care Partnerships (CHARMA) of Scottsdale, Ariz. And at least one more proposal is scheduled - this one from a group that combines Midland Memorial Hospital and Volunteer Hospitals of America. County Commissioners have scheduled a town meeting with that group on Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. in the Ward County Convention Center.

There is something strange about this alternative. It appears the varied sides of the hospital debate all look favorably on Midland Memorial. Midland Memorial is a non-profit institution and it is close enough to yell at if something goes wrong. If the dollars are there, maybe Midland Memorial is the proper option. I would back almost anything that didn't identify itself with some asinine, contrived acronym.

Snow in the Basin

We generally have held snow is best kept at the North Pole and similar places like Amarillo and New Mexico and Colorado and other venues where it is reported citizens like the stuff. We generally have held people have a right to their personal perversions (so long as they do not intrude on our personal space) and a liking for something wet and cold that can kill you has to be classified as a perversion.

But this is not to say we hate snow completely. As long as you have to have the stuff, the way it is delivered in the Permian Basin and Ward County is the way to do it.

Wednesday, large beautiful flakes floated out of the clouds in the morning. On Christmas Night, a similar show was there to watch, leaving a light touch of silver on the ground.

Both times the snow vanished within hours under a gentle sun.
We strongly support snow that melts - quickly.

Bob Turners alway right

You all know Bob Turner. He's a Democrat from Coleman and
he's Ward County's man in the Texas House of
Representatives. Turner also is intelligent and practical,
both of which make him nearly unique in Austin.

When the New Year dawned and the confusing plethora of new,
mostly unenforceable, laws went into effect, it reminded us
of a discussion with Turner after the 75th Legislature had
recessed last year. One of Turner's main points was the best
thing the 75th Legislature may have done was recess. He was
joking when he made the statement; but, he went on to note
the time had come in state and federal government when
representatives of the people need to say "no" a little more
often. Several times in the 75th Legislature, Texas
legislators said "no" and they should be applauded. Just
saying "no" to the multitudes of harebrained schemes before
legislative bodies is common sense. At the least, saying
"no" saves taxpayer dollars.

Bob Turner's right.

Just a note, Bob has no opposition for the Democratic
nominatiaon in his bid for re-election.

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