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ISSUE: HMH acquisitions
OUR VIEW: Consider the motivations
Hardin Memorial Health represents one of the region’s largest employers and there appears to be no end to that growth pattern.
Most would say growth is a good thing, bigger is better. From the standpoint of HMH’s business interests, the recent focus on purchasing existing practices just makes sense.
Instead of potentially allowing health care competitors to infiltrate Hardin County, Hardin Memorial has assumed a strategic position to be “the” primary local health-care provider.
The objective is to eliminate the need to look outside of the HMH menu for medical services. Ranging from an urgent care facility purchase to buying an outpatient surgical practice, one thing is clear. HMH intends to protect its turf, even if that turf is newly acquired.
Some local or area consumers might complain HMH intends to monopolize health care in Hardin County. But its commitment to growth could just as easily be viewed as a reflection of its desire to improve services and respond to the challenges of an industry greatly influenced by federal regulatory changes.
For those who oppose getting their health care services from providers that fall under a single umbrella of ownership, it might be all too easy to criticize the leadership of HMH. However, the county-owned hospital and its leadership appears to have a community-oriented motivation aimed at quality services for all of us.
HMH is in the health care business. While most of us only worry about the quality of the care we receive, the business side is big money.
If part of the business plan calls for better services at lower or more reasonable rates, then HMH is on the right path. With full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act looming, anything HMH can do to help minimize negative impact on quality and cost of services should be welcomed by us all.
HMH has taken strides to change perceptions in our community. The implementation of the HMH growth plan began with former HMH President and CEO David Gray and has been ramped up with new CEO Dennis Johnson. From the purchases and recently announced plans for a new facility in Radcliff just outside the Fort Knox gate, it is clear HMH intends to continue with its commitment to deliver quality care.
Focusing on access, quality and strategic growth to provide health-care options for residents of Hardin and surrounding counties should be the objective of HMH. Buying facilities and existing practices to block competition and minimizing choices for the community would be counterproductive to the improvement of its service area.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.