(LANSING) – Sturgis Hospital's announcement of it's plans to reorganize has drawn some stern comments from State Representative Aaron Miller.
Miller says the closing of so many vital services that is going into effect almost immediately is downright dire for all of southern and eastern St. Joseph County and the surrounding region, but most importantly the city of Sturgis. Miller says he is standing up and calling on fellow community leaders and other members of the community to call this what it is on its face: simply unacceptable.
Miller says if the situation at the Hospital has been sliding downhill for some time, why has it been cloaked in secrecy by the upper leadership and not communicated well to the public? Miller also says he is ashamed that he and perhaps others have given the Hospital Board and the CEO too much benefit of the doubt.
Miller says even if these moves had been absolutely necessary, which we don’t even have the ability to be sure of at this point, the public should have heard about this at least six months ago, in a transparent, systematic release of information.
The effects of all of this are potentially very devastating according to Miller. He says this concerns our ability to attract people and especially skilled labor to Sturgis. This also has a great effect on our local economy, our housing market, and our schools considering the number of jobs at hand. He says every business and organization in Sturgis should be deeply concerned right now at what has gone on and should be already taking proactive steps to hold our community hospital accountable starting today.
Miller says perhaps it's time to make hospital boards public bodies so that they are subject to the Open Meetings Act like school boards and local government boards already are.
Miller says he is calling for the immediate resignation of CEO Rob LaBarge and other senior leadership, for whom there has obviously been no accountability. If resignations are not given, he will call on the Sturgis Hospital board to remove them by the close of business on Monday, December 3.
If the board cannot manage to do that, Miller says he will call for the unwilling board members to resign and for a publicly responsible board to take their place. If these things do not happen, Miller is convinced that the community will demand them and take it upon themselves to see that they are accomplished.
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