11-20-03 - For all purposes, Tuesday's special election in Johnston county was a vote to keep the struggling hospital open. 87% of voters seemed to agree that the only way to keep the hospital was to let it go.
For the last few months, the small county hospital has been struggling to survive, finding itself hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt to Medicare, with no relief in site.
In August, county commissioners and hospital board members met with the Schuster group, an Oklahoma City based firm interested in taking over and privatizing the county facility. But the only way for that to happen was to put it to a vote of the people.
Making the decision to effectively give up control of the hospital was a difficult one for commissioners but if all works out, the bottom line is the city of Tishomingo will be keeping it's only hospital facility.
As of now, the county hasn't worked out a definite deal with the Schuster group. Both sides are still in the process of hashing out legal details of the proposal.