Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

February 3, 2014

Study says hospital can have long life

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — It was last fall when one former longtime hospital administrator was brought in to help Pauls Valley officials determine if the local hospital was worth saving as it continued to battle rough financial times.

The answer from Tom Litz is a very strong yes.

Litz’ job when he arrived last October was to evaluate the hospital and determine if it could be saved from closure.

To help with the process he conducted a study of the hospital. His findings helped Litz conclude it was a facility with life.

“I felt the hospital was salvageable,” Litz said during a recent PV Hospital Authority meeting.

Litz said there are challenges and mistakes have been made, but his experience shows him these problems can be overcome allowing the local hospital to be revived on a longtime basis.

“I believe it will take three to five years before the hospital is standing on it own two feet,” he said.

“The hospital can get back on a strong foundation.”

Still, time is short for PV officials to campaign for a half cent sales tax measure going before local votes on March 4.

Litz himself will serve as the coordinator of anyone interested in volunteering their time to help PV officials get out there and promote the tax proposal to the public.

Helping with the push to better inform the PV community about the tax measure is a public relations firm paid for with funds privately raised.

“We want a coordinated effort to promote the tax measure,” Litz said.

“Think of this as a political campaign, hopefully without the politics,” he said.

“We need to blanket the community with a targeted and standard message.”

According to Litz, the best part of this campaign is he’s already seen that PV General Hospital has solid support from the community.

“I believe there is overwhelming support for this hospital in the community,” he said.

“They want it to survive and grow and thrive if possible.

“I believe this is as important for the community as it is for the hospital.”

Another believer is Patrick Grimmett, a member of the city council and hospital authority.

“The way I sell this is I ask people if they want a hospital,” Grimmett said about the tax proposal.

“I tell people do you want your grandchildren to have a hospital here,” he said. “It’s pretty simple.”