A second public forum hosted by hospital employees for the six candidates for Prowers Medical Center Board of Directors was held at the Cultural Evens Center Tuesday, April 24. The two hour event was also carried live on KLMR Radio. This question and answer format deviated from the first forum, as 75 different written questions from the hospital staff were condensed to avoid repetition and to offer anonymity to those who submitted their questions. The final half hour was open to questions from the floor for four of the candidates, as Dr. Wayne Hudson and Diane Broyles did not attend. Andy Wyatt, Vincent Yoder, Ron Farmer and Julie Branes were in attendance.
The majority of written questions centered on how the candidates would conduct themselves as a board of director in their relationship to each other and to hospital staff, as well as their potential interaction with other medical providers, such as High Plains Community Health Center. Issues of ethics, confidentiality for patients and personnel and how they, as a board member, would relate to a new Chief Executive Officer were also discussed.
Although the candidates offered professional medical or financially based backgrounds which would be beneficial to the hospital, all agreed that as a new board member, they would maintain a ’look and listen’ period, learning about hospital and board protocols before they felt a need to weigh in on hospital issues. Ronnie Farmer said he was in favor of total transparency for board meetings as, “I don’t see the need to have executive sessions for each and every meeting that’s held,” he told the audience. Julie Branes said she would want to have the role of a board member defined for her, as a single member and working with a group, and Andy Wyatt said there should be on-going communication among board members, especially between the newer and current members.
All candidates described employing a form of ‘hands-off’ philosophy regarding how much input they intended to offer the day-to-day workings at the hospital, stating they felt no need to have to micro-manage hospital staff. The same general response was given to a question asking candidates if they felt the board of directors should assume the responsibility for writing the policies of the 26 different departments at PMC, or allow that to remain with department heads and staff. Vincent Yoder responded saying, as a board member he might want to review the policies developed, but that shouldn’t be taken away from department managers. Andy Wyatt stated that the internal policies should come from the departments, so long as they do not override the general operating policies of the hospital.
Some of the final questions of the evening pertained to the future of Prowers Medical Center, and not directed so much to physical expansion or equipment acquisition, but the central role that the candidates envisioned the hospital would take in the community. Regarding a future choice of Chief Executive Officer, the responses indicated a need for a person who will commit to the area, the same as future physicians. All candidates felt the CEO should have more personal involvement with groups and activities within the hospital district. As for the $5 million Bond Issue vote on May 8, the candidates replied they believed that too much is being spent on what will have too little practical function for the Rehabilitation Outpatient Center. Julie Branes pondered the question for a few moments before replying, but then got a round of applause from the audience from her response, stating that the bond issue should be passed, but with the understanding that modifications could be made later to the architect’s construction plans to make it more user friendly. Each of the candidates replied that they would be willing to meet with their counterparts at High Plains Community Health Center, to create some form of non-competitive, lasting harmony between the medical providers.
Ballots have begun to be mailed to area voters regarding the question of passing the Bond Issue and the selection of the two new board members. The last day to return a ballot to PMC is May 8. A final town hall meeting to discuss information on the Bond Issue will be held Monday, April 30, at 7pm at the Lamar Cultural Events Center.
By Russ Baldwin
Filed under: Business, community, Economy, Education, Employment, Featured, Granada, Health, Holly, Lamar, News, Politics · Tags: Chief Executive Officer, High Plains Community Health Center, HPCHC, KLMR, PMC, Prowers Medical Center, Rehab Bond Issue