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For Immediate Release
August 24, 2017
SECURING OUR COMMUNITY’S HEALTHCARE FUTURE
Board of Elections confirms Berger issue is on the November ballot
CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO – The request to allow Berger Health System to change its ownership structure to a not-for-profit organization is officially on the ballot for approval by City of Circleville voters this November. This exciting milestone moves us one step closer to having the flexibility of entering into a lease agreement with a larger health system to obtain access to more resources that will enable Berger to grow and evolve to meet the needs of our community for generations.
In May, Berger’s Board of Governors announced their intention to put this issue on the November 2017 ballot. In spite of best efforts, the Board has determined it is not able to continue operating the Health System as it does today. A rapidly changing industry, mounting regulatory pressure, and increased competition are driving this decision. The Board and our City/County leaders have agreed that aligning with a larger health system, likely OhioHealth if acceptable terms can be reached, is the best way to ensure vibrant, local healthcare exists to serve all of Pickaway County.
The Pickaway County Board of Elections requires the submission of a petition with at least 287 signatures of registered Circleville voters in order for an issue to appear on the November 2017 ballot. According to officials, a team of volunteers obtained nearly 700 certified signatures for Berger’s petition.
“Getting the Berger issue on the November ballot is the first step towards ensuring high quality, affordable healthcare continues to be available for all of us in our community,“ says former County Commissioner and Circleville resident Glenn Reeser. “As we all know, dramatic changes are occurring in the nation’s healthcare industry today, presenting many new challenges. We can all help Berger face these challenges by voting YES on the Berger issue this fall.”
According to David M. Crawford, president of Circleville City Council, this is the best path forward for Berger. “By urging voter approval on the Berger issue, we have the opportunity to move forward from a place of strength and protect an incredibly vital community asset,” said Crawford.
“Working with OhioHealth since January 2015 has enabled Berger to provide more of the services our families need right here in Circleville, but we have quickly reached the legal limits of what we can do together given our current ownership structure,” says Mayor Don McIlroy.
Tim Colburn, President and CEO of Berger Health System, echoed McIlroy saying, “in order to continue to remain strong and invest in our community, we must be willing to evolve so we can secure the healthcare future our community needs and deserves.”
According to Brian Stewart, President of the Pickaway County Board of Commissioners, the necessity of this change is clear. “Allowing Berger to evolve to better serve our community will position everyone - Berger, the City, and the County - for future success. Having the flexibility to align with a larger system not only protects hundreds of local jobs and millions in annual contributions to our local economy, but also ensures we are able to continue to access high-quality care right here at home,” says Stewart.
Officials also noted although a vote is not required of Pickaway County residents outside of Circleville, the County Commissioners will represent these residents in discussions with a prospective partner.
A community-wide event will be held in October (location, date and time to be announced) to answer questions and speak more about the necessity of this change. All interested community members are encouraged to attend.
About Berger Health System
Founded in 1930, Berger Health System is a full service hospital and community healthcare system serving the residents of the City of Circleville, Pickaway County and its surrounding communities. With over 200 physicians on its medical staff, Berger is committed to offering a full range of inpatient and outpatient care services across a number of Pickaway County locations. For more information on Berger Health System, visit us online at www.bergerhealth.com and follow us on Twitter @BergerHealthSys.