Establishing a hospital step by step

Published 7:32 am Saturday, September 30, 2017

By Bobby Tingle


The first step to be taken to establish a hospital for Orange County residents is to establish the need. It’s a simple thing, seemingly, but so are a lot of other issues where public opinion is involved.

The need for a hospital has emerged as county residents, for whatever reason, lost hospital services over the past year years. It would be easy to point fingers of blame, but the bottom line is the services have been cancelled and no one has come forward to resurrect services.

The next step is determining the options available to Orange County.

There are hospitals within driving distance of anywhere in Orange County, in three directions. Residents can simply drive to one of those established hospitals. I know three individuals recently who were forced to do so, but each one is at least twenty miles away.

A private company could establish and operate a hospital in Orange County. Private companies have done so, but as of this writing, none have emerged offering current services.

Or, a public hospital can be established, one founded by Orange County residents.

There are several mechanisms provided by state law available to do so. One of those mechanisms is establishment of a hospital district by Orange County residents.

As hospital services in Orange County deteriorated, public officials have discussed and looked for available ways to reestablish service. County residents who have attended city council or commissioner court meetings have witnessed discussions. Press conferences and town hall meetings have been called to reveal findings of individuals who have taken their time to research and discover options.

The fruit of those efforts has finally ripened.

Tuesday afternoon Orange County Commissioners will hold a public hearing to consider certification of a petition. If certified the commissioners will set a date for the election called for by the petition. Nothing else will be decided Tuesday. If they certify, then they will set an election date.

A hospital is a complicated business venture with a mission of providing health care to patients. County residents should take this possibility seriously. If established the district will have the authority granted it by the parameters of the petition and state law.

Tuesday commissioners are likely to certify the petition and set an election date. Then the time for discussion will begin.   And discuss we should.

Let’s hope and pray for consensus.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at