To the Franklin County board of commissioners and to the residents of Franklin County, I respectfully submit to you this letter for your consideration regarding the future of Weems Memorial Hospital. I have lived in Franklin County now for three years. Coupled with my time in neighboring Wakulla County I've been in this immediate area for close to 20 years. While I am no expert, I can say that Franklin County residents have been victimized by the economy, the downward trend of the fishing industry and the inability of Franklin County officials to offset these hardships with achieving growth and/or in making better decisions.

Wakulla County has no hospital and it is a considerably larger county in comparison to that of Franklin County based on population. Wakulla County has become an extension to Leon County and our state capital, Tallahassee. If Wakulla County does not have a hospital, why is it Franklin County needs a hospital?

Franklin County is in a better position than Wakulla County; we have the same hospitals they have in Tallahassee. PLUS we have what they don't have just 10-15 minutes away by ambulance in Port St Joe, a new outreach hospital affiliated with one of the best hospitals and medical care providers in this state.

Without Weems Memorial Hospital, from a geographical standpoint Franklin County is still in a better position for hospital care for its residents than many residents in Wakulla County. Wakulla County does not have the luxury of a new highly-rated hospital about 15 minutes west of Apalachicola, a straight shot on Hwy 98. We here in Franklin County do. This must be taken into consideration with any decision-making process that may result in a $10 million to $20 million burden levied upon residents here in Franklin County.

Is it really worth $10 million to $20 million dollars, at the expense of Franklin County residents, for a few more years of existence for Weems Memorial Hospital, a hospital already operating at a substantial loss? Who in their right mind will spend $20 million on a hospital losing over $2 million annually already? You are only prolonging the inevitable closure of this hospital. Why place this burden on our children or grandchildren?

Letís do the right thing, think with our heads and not let the heart interfere with the decision that needs to be made in the best interest of Franklin County residents. Weems Memorial Hospital is an albatross. Letís not bring hardship upon the residents here in Franklin County more than what they already face or drive the stake in even farther. People in this county cannot afford it.

Very truly yours,

Michael J. Cauley

Franklin County resident