Our View: Let the healing begin

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Craig Editorial Board

  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Jennifer L. Grubbs, newspaper representative
  • Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
  • Allan Reishus, community representative
  • Chris Runyan, community representative
  • Ken Wergin, community representative

— One week ago, a group of more than 50 community members, The Memorial Hospital Board members and hospital employees gathered at The Boardroom restaurant to celebrate jumping a tall hurdle.

The hospital administration had learned that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had approved a loan guarantee of $40.3 million for the new hospital facility. This was a piece in the puzzle that area residents had been waiting to fall into place; it was a sure sign that the result of the vote in November 2007 wasn't a waste and that the project definitely was viable.

Now, with a major loan guarantee in place and obvious signs of construction and progress, it's time for all of us to move on and join in celebrating the opportunity the new facility presents for the community.

We know the common complaints:

• There already have been lots of delays on the project;

• The new location is more inconvenient;

• A new building won't help with problems with staff morale or patient complaints.

And these are just a few of the concerns raised in our editorial board meeting.

However, the board came to this conclusion: It's time for all the doubters and skeptics to accept that they cannot go back and change the vote results.

We all need to embrace and celebrate this project and the good it will do for Craig and Moffat County. But we also need to demand accountability and transparency from hospital administration for our investment.

It's taken at least eight years to get to this point, where plans are in place, financing has been secured and construction has begun.

And yes, the location is not ideal. It will not be nearly as convenient to drive to the outskirts of town, instead of heading toward the center of Craig. But that's where the land necessary for the new facility is located, and there even will be room to grow in time. Also, the proximity to Colorado Northwestern Community College's new campus will benefit the community by helping draw in more students to medical field programs

Many other advantages help outweigh the negatives.

For example, the new facility will feature large enough rooms to hold all of the fancy, new equipment the hospital has acquired and still allow the doctors, nurses and patients to move around comfortably. Right now, things are a little crowded at the hospital.

Also, the new facility is likely to aid in recruitment of new doctors, nurses and other medical staff for whom there is an almost constant need.

But the word-of-mouth about the new hospital around town has to change. We've all got to start recognizing what TMH is trying to accomplish with this new building.

First, it will look nice and present a beautiful, modern version of TMH to the community - employees, patients and officials. Second, this new facility will have the infrastructure needed to allow the professionals to do procedures that currently are hard or impossible. Third, it's likely that doctors who practice in Steamboat Springs will be more willing to travel to Craig to do surgeries and other procedures at the new TMH than they are now. This could allow more Craig residents to receive the treatment and care they need without major travel expenses. And fourth, it will have the same name, just with an "Extreme Makeover" to the building, creating a smoother transition and expanding on the history of TMH in this community.

We want to thank everyone who had the vision to vote in favor of funding the new hospital facility and congratulate our whole community on the project.

No matter how much people gripe along the way, having a top-notch hospital facility will benefit this community greatly. It's ours, and we need to support it in non-financial ways, too.

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