Sundance Times - Continuing the Crook County News Since 1884

Our View:

Let the healing begin


March 5, 2020

We would like to commend everyone who has been involved over the last couple of weeks in taking steps towards righting the ship at Crook County Medical Services District.

We applaud and offer thanks to our trustees, who listened to the concerns of the community and put the brakes on what could have become a crisis situation. We understand it’s not easy to have difficult conversations in the open, especially when you know how deeply feelings run within the community, but you had the courage to do so.

Thank you for your willingness to allow meaningful discussion, and for listening to those who were able to provide information you may not have had before. It’s clear there are still a few personality clashes and conflicts to resolve, but we believe you are committed to finding the best path forward.

We applaud those members of the public who made their voices heard, both at Thursday’s meeting and by calling or visiting board members. Our elected officials can only work for our best interests if we make sure to let them know what those are.

We thank everyone who brought information to us and shared their experiences and opinions. It’s our job to keep tabs on our government entities, which is frustrating to say the least when we can’t see what’s happening behind closed doors, but we had the good fortune to be dealing almost exclusively with people who understand the importance of keeping the public informed.

We applaud the employees at CCMSD, who had the courage to raise their voices when it meant placing their livelihoods on the line. Watching our healthcare providers risk their very jobs to take a stand showed us how passionate they are about the district, and about making sure it runs like clockwork.

This is how our democracy is intended to work. As your newspaper, we are the conduit between you and your elected officials.

It’s our role to tell you what’s happening, and yours to make sure your government knows how you feel about it. It’s because you made your voices heard that the hospital board was able to move forward in your best interests.

We said in our editorial last week that it would be impossible for the public to trust the board if it insisted on keeping things hidden from us. The community clearly felt the same, and made sure our trustees knew it.

Considering how passionate Crook County is about its hospital district, the fact that the board had the courage to share what has been going on – not to mention that trustees stated several times during the meeting that they want to keep hearing from the public – goes a long way to restoring that trust.

As is often the case, the problems between the board and its management company appears to have started when the line of communication was cut. Whether that was intentional or by accident, it led to a snowball situation.

We can understand why there was concern if trustees weren’t getting answers when they asked valid questions. We can also understand that HMS and employees didn’t know how to fix things because they weren’t being told what the problem was.

There’s an old saying that it’s best to go to bed when you have problems, because they’ll seem much easier to deal with in the morning. Along similar lines, we believe the issues between CCMSD and HMS appeared a lot less insurmountable when they were spoken out loud. Assuming we were given the full story on Thursday, we see no reason that the two sides can’t come back into alignment.

The future for the hospital district now has the potential to be bright, and all because, when the call went out that a crisis was looming, the public was willing to speak and the board was willing to listen. And if that doesn’t give you hope for our system of government, whatever will?


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