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Trying to find the right path to success

The Lakeville Journal Editorial

Sharon Hospital’s plans to dramatically change the services available to its population in the region have been met with opposition from not only the community, but also the vast majority of its medical staff. And on Oct. 14, area town leaders voiced their concerns at the monthly Northwest Hills Council of Governments meeting in Goshen, especially targeting the choice to shut down labor and delivery services at the hospital.

Nobody raising their voices in dissent with the hospital’s and its parent company Nuvance’s decisions for cuts and additions of services would rather see the hospital close than change, it is safe to say. But when a key critical resource for area communities announces precipitous changes without prior input from its users, those plans become a very hard sell.

It is clear that having access to maternity services is very meaningful to the health of the region if young families are expected to move here and stay here. But making such services work financially seems much more difficult than anyone would have hoped after the last shut-down scare that was averted by outcry from area residents, including the group Save Sharon Hospital.

Now, with a firmer plan in place to modify services at the hospital, discussion has taken a contentious turn. But it is to be hoped that ongoing negotiations on medical care for the region can continue to happen without the polarization of opposing sides that defines so much of the country’s political discourse now. This is a critically important time for the hospital and the region, so now is a time for cooperative communication and transparency on the hospital’s part in order to have understanding between the community and medical caregivers, whether physicians or administrators.   

Let’s not use this fraught time as an excuse to demonize those whom we see as the opposition. Instead, it’s time to take the opportunity to fully comprehend what is at stake for the hospital and those it serves, and to take part in the public forums that are coming up. There will be meetings between Nuvance and town officials on Nov. 4, 5 and 9, as well as a Save Sharon Hospital demonstration on Nov. 6.

It would help if all parties could avoid descending into the kind of polarization that has been so destructive to our national politics. If all come to the table to talk about the problems facing the hospital with open minds and a willingness to compromise, the outcome for medical care in the Tristate region will  be better in the long run.

Be informed on the candidates, and vote

For anyone who missed notices of this in prior editions, because The Lakeville Journal has been granted nonprofit status we no longer will be running political endorsements.

Be sure to read the candidate profiles in this issue, and to read the letters to the editor.  And, please do vote on Nov. 2.


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