By Shelia Tomkins
The Guttenberg city council at its regular monthly meeting on Nov. 5 heard a presentation by a Guttenberg physician who gave an update on municipal hospital alignment plans and urged the community to become involved with the decision-making process.
Dr. Jeff Hoffmann, a physician with Cornerstone Family Practice, prefaced his remarks by telling the council he was speaking as a representative of local physicians and not as a representative of the hospital.
Dr. Hoffmann read portions of a statement that was presented by the physicians to the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital Board on Oct. 28. He told the council of the board's subsequent public statement on plans to pause alignment discussions with UnityPoint Health (see story in the Nov. 5 issue), and expressed appreciation for the board's efforts in trying to do what is best for the community. "The hospital board has done an excellent job," he said.
He told the council that local physicians feel it is important to maintain the hospital as a municipal entity. "As physicians, we feel the need to remain locally owned and operated," Dr. Hoffmann said.
He expressed concern over the future of local healthcare if the Guttenberg hospital becomes aligned with a large corporate entity, citing physician retention rates and recruitment, among other factors.
In today's healthcare climate, Dr. Hoffmann said affiliation with others is necessary in order to be a critical access hospital. "You need to be affiliated.... it is just the degree of alignment that we are concerned about," he said. "We feel strongly that any alignment needs to retain municipal status," he added. He asked that different alignment models be studied.