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Legislation Supporting County-Owned Hospitals Passes in the House

February 16, 2022
Mark Johnson News

COLUMBUS—The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 405, legislation which clarifies the nature of the appointing authority to the boards of trustees for local county hospitals.

The measure, sponsored by State Representatives Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) and Mark Johnson (R-Chillicothe), clarifies explicitly that the appointing authority for hospital trustees is comprised of county commissioners each having 1 vote, the senior Common Pleas Judge having 1 vote, and the Probate Judge, if they are separate people, having 1 vote. 

“This bill provides needed clarity for both statutory and charter counties that operate county-hospitals with regard to board of trustees appointments,” said Stewart.

The bill also includes provisions relating to county hospitals in counties that have adopted a charter form of government. The current statutes regarding county hospital appointing authorities are silent regarding how they apply in charter counties. 

Johnson noted during his floor speech that MetroHealth System, located in Cuyahoga County, is currently the only hospital in Ohio to fall within in a charter county. 

“While there is currently only one county hospital located in a charter county, it is critically important one,” said Johnson. “MetroHealth System in Cuyahoga County serves other 300,000 patients in over 40 sites across the county. Over the years, MetroHealth has seen an incredible amount of growth, and while their expansion is an exciting success, it also calls for a reevaluation of the system’s administration.”

H.B. 405 will codify the process for making appointments to a hospital board in a charter community by incorporating the involvement of the county executives and county council. In the case of MetroHealth Systems, Cuyahoga County Executive and the Cuyahoga County Council will confirm the board appointments.

“This bill will reduce conflicts in the administration of county hospitals so that they can continue their important work in the hospital, rather than in a courtroom,” added Stewart.

H.B. 405 was unanimously voted out of the House Criminal Justice Committee and passed on the House floor with a vote of 95-1. The bill will now head to the Ohio Senate for further consideration.