“Healthy Stark” Citizen’s Commission Launched to Help Guide Future of Health Care in Western Stark County
Group Sees Closure of Affinity Medical Center as Opportunity to Reclaim Health Security in the County
The Healthy Stark Citizen’s Commission was launched this week by nurses, patients, union workers, and community leaders to guide and participate in shaping the future of healthcare in Western Stark County in the wake of the Affinity Medical Center closure in Massillon.
The community stakeholders created the commission because they believe the city’s acquisition of the $25 million hospital facility,provides Massillon with the opportunity to reclaim the county’s health security and have a community owned hospital.
“Because of this we have a future”, says Krystian Hall, a member of the commission. “We have the power to say what should happen to our hospital. We can have a hospital that shares our values—a hospital that puts people first, instead of profit, and that cares about its employees and its community.”
On Monday the commission approved the name ‘Healthy Stark” and a statement of purpose including core community values that should be the criteria when determining any hospital operator.
“As nurses, we see how corporate healthcare greed like we have been dealing with harms our patients. We have a vision for how healthcare in our community can be different and we look forward to being a part of the process to get there. It’s going to take a lot of work from everyone,” said Stephanie Still, a former registered nurse at Affinity Medical Center and long time Massillon resident.
The commission hopes to work closely with City Council to find the best operator and operating model for this community hospital and has asked for transparent communication from Council about plans and potential operators.
“We believe that when citizens are involved in critical decisions about the health of their community the best outcome is achieved,” said Still.
More information about the commission can be found on the Facebook page, “Healthy Stark” and the next meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb 27th at 7pm in the Massillon Rec Center. All who want to create a better future of healthcare in Stark County are welcome.