It’s a new day at Riverside

Published 11:51 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Riverside Medical Center Board of Commissioners made a difficult yet necessary decision in the recent firing of CEO Calvin Green.

Green’s public trust, so evident when voters handed him a 15-mill property tax he was seeking in the spring of 2012, had all but evaporated in the wake of the post-election fallout. During the campaign, Green, in a promotional brochure, said the revenue was necessary to “provide us necessary support to maintain current services while undertaking the recruitment of additional providers for our community.”

In various community meetings he and tax supporters warned that failure of the tax would result in layoffs and the potential of the hospital closing.

Voters took that threat seriously, and by a narrow margin approved the millage, which replaced an18-mill tax that expired Dec. 31.

However, less than two months after the election the hospital announced several layoffs and the reduction of other employees from full time to part time. Some of the employees who had lost their jobs had campaigned leading up to the election on their personal time, not receiving a dime. Their passion for saving a facility they so dearly loved was the only motivational fuel they required.

After the carnage, employees were afraid to come forward for fear of losing their jobs, and a community was left with a feeling of betrayal.

Even some of Green’s most ardent supporters privately questioned if the former administrator had hoodwinked them. And who can blame them?

Eventually, circumstances demanded Green be cut loose so the board and the facility could move forward.

Admittedly, RMC will never be a full service healthcare center, but its place in the community cannot be diminished. Riverside services not only the residents of western Washington Parish but also many residents in eastern Tangipahoa Parish.

Given the uncertainly surrounding healthcare today, and the tenuous status of the LSU Health System, Riverside’s financial stability is crucial to the area.

In the past year Green had become a lightning rod of negativity surrounding the medical facility. With a fresh start and new leadership, RMC can begin the healing process the arduous task of rebuilding public trust.

It’s a new day, a welcome day, at Riverside Medical Center, and one that has been long awaited.