11/16/13 — Still there: Obamacare might have distracted, but hospital dilemma still looms

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Still there: Obamacare might have distracted, but hospital dilemma still looms

It is not the first controversy that we are thinking of these days in the face of the continuing concerns about the president's new health care initiative -- but it should be.

The deadline for Wayne Memorial Hospital and Blue Cross and Blue Shield to reach an agreement on a contract dispute is inching ever closer.

And while there has been some progress, there has not been enough.

There are serious consequences in the making if this contract does not become a reality. Not the least of which is that Wayne County residents will have to pay more out of pocket if they want to go to their local hospital for care.

And there are other concerns, too.

A problem like this could result in repercussions in other areas -- like economic development and keeping Wayne County off the list of any future Base Realignment and Closure commission.

Both parties need to keep a very important fact in mind as they continue to try to reach an agreement -- this is not about them. They have both been entrusted with something that is a critical part of their patients' lives -- health care for themselves and their families.

This is not just about business. It is not just about control.

It is about this community's ability to get reasonably priced and accessible medical care.

And that means that no matter what it takes, an agreement needs to be reached as soon as possible -- and both parties are responsible for making that happen and accountable if it does not.

We hope that this week will bring good news and a sign that both parties understand the gravity of the looming deadline and the consequences if it is not met.

We hope they understand that the public and the watchdogs are keeping a close eye on the negotiations and the cooperation from both sides.

We hope they know that the community expects this issue to be resolved sooner rather than later.

This is too important an issue for anyone to sit back and wait to see what will happen.

And it is too important not to be Job 1 on the agendas of both Blue Cross and Blue Shield, with whom thousands of Wayne County citizens and employers have entrusted their health care, and Wayne Memorial Hospital, which has promised that taking care of this community is its top priority.

We will see if both mean what they say.

Published in Editorials on November 16, 2013 10:31 PM