City Council updates status of daycare center

By Gus Bode

Medical malpractice among issues on city council agenda

The Eurma C. Hayes Center will once again be the main topic of discussion at the Carbondale City Council tonight, but council members say the talk will be more positive than in the past.

After the council decided to continue its involvement with the daycare center last year despite discussions of cutting it to save money in the city budget, the center underwent a $162,107 renovation. While no voting will be done on the subject, the council will report on the progress of the center at the meeting.

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Mayor Brad Cole said this is an important topic for the council because of how much time and effort the city has put into fixing up the daycare center.

City Councilwoman Sheila Simon said the improvements that have been made to the childcare center are looking good.

“There is a lot of good news for the Eurma Hayes Center,” Simon said. “Things are moving in the right direction there.”

The center was closed briefly in August last year for cleaning and renovations. Of the $162,107 budget the city had approved for interior and exterior renovations, $125,003 has been spent so far on improvements including new carpeting, ceiling tiles and plumbing fixtures. Another $7,570 will be spent on a security system, leaving a balance of $29,534. The renovation costs were calculated into the fiscal year 2005 city budget.

Another item that will be discussed at the meeting is an ordinance that would regulate the disclosure of disciplinary actions against medical service providers. City Councilman Chris Wissmann brought up this issue after a different ordinance was passed in July 2004 that limited the non-economic damages of patients and the liability of doctors in medical malpractice cases.

If Wissmann’s proposed ordinance passes, it will require medical providers to disclose any disciplinary actions that have been taken against them by the state of Illinois within the past five years.

Wissmann originally voted against the ordinance regarding the medical malpractice recoveries, but changed his vote in the end. While he did disagree with the ordinance, he thought it would be a trade for the assurance that the disclosure of disciplinary actions ordinance would be brought up. Wissmann said he wanted the issue of malpractice to be looked at more comprehensively and wants to make sure patients get the information they need to choose a healthcare provider.

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“I agreed to a compromise,” Wissmann said. “When patients have the information they need to seek quality medical care, the market functions well. If they don’t have that information, the market doesn’t function well.”

While this ordinance will keep the healthcare providers accountable, Wissmann said the main focus is keeping people informed.

“It’s not so much about the doctors,” Wissmann said. “It’s about the public.”

Wissmann said he is hopeful that the ordinance will be voted on during tonight’s meeting.

Reporter William Ford can be reached at [email protected]

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