Members of the Starke County Board Commissioners and County Council met Tuesday evening in a special session with representatives of IU Health Starke Hospital to discuss options available for operation of the healthcare facility. The County leases the aging building at the corner of U.S. 35 and Culver Road to IU Health, which operates the hospital.
“They brought three different scenarios to us,” explained Commission President, Dan Bridegroom. “One was a brand new hospital, another was the renovation of a hospital, and then fixing the old hospital that we have today. We’re going to look at their vision to move forward for the people in the County and what impact, or what purpose do we, as the County Executives, have in moving it forward. Are we going to be partners with them or are they going to move ahead on their own? The bottom line comes down to dollars and cents. Can we, as a County, afford to stay in the healthcare business?”
“Our lease runs out in 2016, but that doesn’t mean that can wait until 2016 to make a decision. This decision is going to have to be made within a year. We could get into this with absolutely no cost to us. They are committed to providing healthcare service for this County. If their commitment goes that far, they may take the whole option themselves and move forward with it. We, and when I say ‘we’ I mean the Commissioners, we have to make sure there is healthcare for this County.”
The County’s major decision, then, is whether to own or co-own a building to house hospital facilities, or to encourage IU Health, with its own financing, to build at the current location or another site so as to continue to provide quality healthcare services for the people of the area.
The group will meet again in 90 days.