AVH mail-in ballots | AspenTimes.com

AVH mail-in ballots

When you check your mail this weekend or perhaps early next week, please make sure not to discard one important item that should arrive in your box.

Today, the Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) will begin sending out mail-in ballots to residents who live within the institution’s district. They will be asked to vote for two of the seven candidates seeking a post on the hospital’s board of directors.

The ballots must be returned by election day, May 6, to be counted.

The hospital board contest is the only one in an otherwise sleepy May election season, so it’s an easy contest to overlook ” especially when the Clinton and Obama exchanges have become practically unavoidable.

But AVH is a public institution partly supported through property taxes and run, in part, by an elected board. Over at least the past 10 years, it’s been on a roller-coaster ride ” deep problems of leadership, accounting and billing led to the layoff of 34 employees in 2004, and more billing issues surfaced in 2007.

By most accounts, the ride has grown smoother, and hospital revenues have recovered. Many of the improvements can be credited to a face-lift on the hospital board, which hired a new CEO who righted the once-sinking ship.

Not that AVH is without current issues. There are plans to renovate the 31-year-old building so it can compete with the next closest hospital ” Valley View in Glenwood Springs. Like other local businesses, the hospital also needs housing for its doctors, nurses and administrators.

Health care is one area where we believe corners cannot be cut. And one role that residents of the district can play in ensuring the quality of their health care is in selecting the most worthy candidates to sit on the AVH board.

The role of hospital board members is one that cannot be understated. We encourage district voters to take a close, hard look at the candidates and send in their ballots by May 6.

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