Hospital boards unite

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Trustees, foundation reconcile

By Eryn Worthington


INVERNESS — Three years of legal squabbling involving Citrus Memorial Health System may be in its closing stages.

No attorneys were present Friday at the Citrus County Hospital Board (CCHB) and the Citrus Memorial Health Foundation joint workshop to consider dismissing lawsuits, linking to work together and transferring money back to the hospital.

“We have to come together, put personal issues to the side for what is important to our patients,” said James Sanders, member of Citrus Memorial Health Foundation. “We need to work together instead of having two different unions.”

Both the foundation board and CCHB have agreed to drop costly legal disputes, link their boards by creating a balanced membership ratio — which would allow them to work together on future hospital endeavors — and transfer money back to the hospital. These issues have plagued the boards since 2009.

“The issues are immaterial and this is not about us,” said Robert Priselac, CCHB member. “It is about the citizens of this county. Let’s do the right thing.”

Because they are unable to vote in a workshop, they decided to meet individually with their boards and return Jan. 30 for a globalization agreement.

The agreement proposes to dismiss lawsuits or counterclaims that are now pending in circuit court.

“Let’s spend three hours talking about patient care instead of legal issues,” said Debbie Ressler, CCHB member. “We need to be here for healthcare and how we are going to improve the hospital.”

Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ryan Beaty said he was pleased with the progress that was made. 

“We have been adults today,” Ressler said. “If we unify, it will speak volumes to the public.”

CCHB members are expected to vote to globalize together at their Wednesday meeting.

Chronicle reporter Eryn Worthington can be contacted at 352-563-5660, ext. 1334, or eworthington@chronicleonline.com.