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The Monsour monstrosity

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Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Westmoreland County will step up and secure the festering mess that is the dilapidated Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette. Credit the full, unforgivable expense, when it's all tabulated, to eight years of inexcusable inaction by state and local officials.

Confidential patient files that were supposed to be secured or destroyed when the hospital closed in 2006 now litter its hallways. And the building itself, along busy Route 30, has deteriorated into a public safety threat.

So the county is moving ahead with plans to destroy the patient files. Then the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. is planning to build a fence around the ramshackle building.

And who's held accountable? Nobody, officials say, because the now-defunct corporation that owns the site, Monsour Medical Center Inc., lists no individual owners.

That's the Monsour “legacy,” and it demands a top-down state review so that it never happens again with another closed hospital.

For starters, state hospital regulators should have demanded the proper disposal of those medical files when they shut down Monsour after the hospital flunked a series of state inspections.

And state and/or local officials should have ensured that the hospital was properly secured when it closed — not almost eight years later.

What stands today is a towering insult to the public interest simply because nobody bothered to address the mess left behind when the hospital's administration simply turned off the lights and walked away.

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