Sturgis Hospital CEO: ‘I am not going to resign’

Town hall concerning hospital’s reorganization plan draws near capacity crowd

STURGIS —A Sturgis Hospital town hall held Monday at Eastwood School to discuss the hospital’s recently announced reorganization plan was forced to move from the school cafeteria to the gymnasium in order handle the event’s significant overflow.
In a gymnasium filled to or near capacity, Sturgis Hospital President and CEO Robert LaBarge answered a number of questions submitted by audience members. State Rep. Aaron Miller read those handwritten questions from note cards, most of which were directed at LaBarge.
Miller opened the night’s proceedings with a statement, and addressed the comments he made in the wake of last Thursday’s announcement that the hospital would cut 60 full-time jobs, close several departments, and transition to an outpatient-based system in an effort to cut costs in the face of substantial financial difficulties. On Thursday Miller called for LaBarge’s resignation and deemed the proposed cuts “unacceptable.”
“My name is, as some of you know, is Aaron Miller — I am the state representative for the area — but most importantly to me tonight, I’m a City of Sturgis resident, lifelong, and I’m proud of our hospital, I’m proud of the services I’ve received for 31 years here. I would like to thank everybody for coming — this is more than we imagined — this is a big deal and I think the number of people who are here shows that,” Miller said.
“I’d like to thank Rob (LaBarge) and the (Sturgis Hospital) board for coming. This will enable many questions to be answered regarding many problems, the biggest of which is likely the health care in the future for this city and the surrounding area. I’ve considered what I said on Thursday several times since then, and in what role, and I think it’s safe to say after a lot of thought that I responded the way I did as a lifelong Sturgis resident, and a lifelong happy customer of Sturgis Hospital. Second, it’s safe to say that the effects of what happened on Thursday reach far past jobs; it affects everybody, so it’s different from just jobs leaving.

Please see Tuesday's print or e-edition for full article.

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