CEO extends hand to citizens

New River Medical Center would like to respond to a letter to the editor written by Carolyn Fowler which was published in the Nov. 5 edition of the Star News. In the letter, Ms. Fowler raised a number of concerns regarding the actions and intentions of New River Medical Center’s Board of Directors and their legal status education process. Unfortunately, a number of Ms. Fowler’s statements were inaccurate and not true.

New River Medical Center’s Board of Directors has worked diligently over the past 16 months to research and explore alternative legal status options available to our organization. The Board of Directors set out on this educational journey to review multiple legal status options to ensure that our patients and community members can obtain health care services from an organization that is operating in the most effective, competitive and strategic manner.

New River Medical Center’s mission is to provide patient-centered care that improves the health and well-being of our community. By researching legal status options, the board is carrying out their fiduciary responsibilities to ensure that you, our patients and community members, are able to consume high-quality health care services in our community now and into the future.

New River Medical Center applauds, appreciates and encourages community involvement in our board and committee meetings. We invite all community members to attend our meetings, ask questions openly and become informed before making conclusions on local health care issues and decisions. Despite the accusations made in the letter to the editor, Ms. Fowler has not attended any of the board’s educational committee or regular meetings.

The Board of Directors has participated in 16 months of discussion and debate over possible legal status change; the Board of Directors at New River Medical Center is committed to the success of our local health care system and the continued availability of health care services close to home. Board members, committee members and medical staff members have given great consideration and time to the cities and townships that are members of our hospital district and have continued to value quality local health care services above all else.

If you have questions about the board’s legal status education process, please feel free to contact me directly at 761-271-2270. At New River Medical Center, we’re dedicated to our community’s health and the availability of health care services in our community today and into the future. — Marshall E. Smith, MHA, LNHA, FACHE, chief executive officer, New River Medical Center, Monticello

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