Chesterton Tribune

Sale of Porter Memorial Hospital is salt in our wounds

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Voice of the People

The new dilemma of where the bones (sale proceeds) of the Porter Memorial Hospital will go was bound to arise. It must be another virus from Washington similar to the unconstitutional program known as ďFaith Based Initiative".

You will recall President Bush planned to grace his favorites (his cheering sections) with liberal grants (our tax dollars) since we serfs were incapable of donating our own resources to various social service organizations (even though he had no constitutional authority to do so). The king felt he would simply bestow such largess on those he choose to favor.

Now locally, we learn the new hospital issue is about how the proceeds (some $100 million +_ $30 million) from the sale of Porter Memorial Hospital should be spent. For many of us, this is just more salt in our wounds from the unfortunate decision to sell our county owned hospital. This issue seems to emanate from the current hospital board members, most of whom have admitted, that they have never used the hospital services or facilities in the first place, and who apparently ran it so badly it has to be sold.

Iím a Porter County citizen who strongly feels if a for-profit corporation - especially investment bankers J.P Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs - is willing to buy our hospitalís bones, then expects to turn a profit after building a new $210 million hospital facility, why are we so intent on quickly selling our PMH when we could replace the high-priced but inept management there and keep the place ourselves. I thought county hospitals exist for the convenience and needs of county residents and any monetary surplus generated was to be plowed back to enhance the facility and its services.

Like government schools, good hospitals donít necessarily depend on their physical appearance being a Taj Mahal. Staff, their leadership, attitude and their tools mostly determines excellence.

If the sale of Porter Memorial Hospital is inevitable, then many Porter County folks like myself feel sale proceeds should be given to the county taxpayers to lighten our horrendous property tax burden. Then we, not the monarch, will decide where and how these funds will be spent. We donít need to create a new private foundation, as the PMH board chairman suggests, to give away our assets to those whom such a foundation would deem worthy. The taxpayers can and should decide how such funds should be spent themselves.

Gerald B. Hťbert

Liberty Township


Posted 3/14/2007