Community group wants to advise on hospital policy Springfield board agrees to role

March 24, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The South Carroll Coalition wants a voice on the Citizens Advisory Board of Springfield Hospital Center.

"We have written to the governor asking him to appoint some of our members to the board," said Kathleen Horneman.

Ms. Horneman helped form the coalition several months ago to protest two state proposals: the transfer of violent patients to the center and conversion of the Lane Building into a juvenile detention center.

"How can the board address any of our issues without our input?" she asked. "How effectively can they speak for citizens surrounding the hospital?"

Ms. Horneman said the coalition wants the hospital advisory board "to be an outreach arm between the public and the hospital."

The nine unpaid members of the citizens advisory board meet six times a year and conduct one annual tour of the center in Sykesville, said John B. Winningham, its chairman.

"They want to be on the board? Terrific," said Mr. Winningham, who lives in Montgomery County. "We have two openings, and I definitely think we should have community involvement."

Board members come from the geographic areas the center serves: Baltimore City and Carroll and Montgomery counties. At least three Carroll County residents should serve, Mr. Winningham said.

The present board has two Carroll residents; one of their terms expires in June.

Anyone seeking membership should obtain a form from the office of Springfield's superintendent, who forwards the completed forms to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

"I have never heard of anybody who wanted to serve being rejected," said Mr. Winningham.

State law requires all state hospitals to have citizen advisory boards. The governor appoints members to four-year terms, on the recommendation of Nelson Sabatini, the state secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Dorothy Bockoven of Westminster, who is serving her second term on Springfield's advisory board, said she favors community representation but "that's not enough. We need people with a background in mental health, too."

Mr. Winningham, a board member for five years, said members meet with the center's administration and staff to discuss quality of care, budget matters and patient problems.

The board prepares an annual report for Mr. Sabatini.

"We have found Springfield to be a superbly run hospital with outstanding staff," said Mr. Winningham.

"The surrounding community have been good neighbors to the hospital and should be represented on the board. There are also many patients from Carroll County."

The coalition also has requested minutes from board meetings for the past two years, said Ms. Horneman.

"No problem," said Mr. Winningham.

The coalition released a 14-page document yesterday detailing security procedures and walk-offs from the center.

Dr. Bruce Hershfield, superintendent of the center, prepared the information at the request of the coalition.

Mr. Winningham said the advisory board will investigate the coalition's complaints about security at the center.

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