More transparency, accountability and responsiveness, especially from board members: these are the chief concerns of people who responded to a recent survey about the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Circulated last month by an ad hoc citizen group, the survey drew 535 responses to a brief set of questions testing public opinion about the Island’s hospital. Board governance and the desire for a public meeting were the primary issues raised.

Among those who responded to the survey, 78 per cent said they would attend an open public meeting with hospital leaders to discuss future direction. The number jumped to 90 per cent when factoring in the people who said they would not attend the meeting but only for logistical reasons such as lack of child care.

Asked about the survey, interim president and chief executive officer Timothy Walsh said board leaders have begun to meet with small, select groups of community members. But beyond that he had little comment about the survey results.

“We’re doing some community meetings. We’re busy with the search,” he said, referring to the search for a new president and CEO.

Hospital trustees found themselves at the center of controversy beginning in early June and running through most of the summer over the abrupt firing of president and chief executive officer Joseph Woodin after just one year on the job.

The citizen group formed partly in response to the controversy and has met with hospital leaders a number of times in recent months. Group members say they do not purport to represent the wider Vineyard community but are interested helping the hospital achieve more success, especially in the areas of community engagement and strategic planning.

The survey was circulated last month in Island newspapers and online. Results were released this week.

Among those who said they would attend a meeting with the hospital, the topic they would like most to see discussed (88 per cent) is who makes decisions about the hospital’s direction. A high percentage of the same group (87 per cent) listed hospital involvement with community health as a primary topic for discussion.

“The results are clear,” said Victor Capoccia,” a member of the citizen group who has a broad background in health care.

Bruce Bullen, another member of the group who also has a long background in health care as a former executive with Harvard Pilgrim and the former head of Medicaid for Massachusetts, among other things, agreed.

“I think it’ pretty clear there’s a lot of concern about the responsiveness of the board to the community,” he said. “One of the things I think would help is the formation of a formal community advisory committee,” he added, noting the success of such a committee at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. “That would be a good step,” Mr. Bullen said. “Also the board needs to take a look at how it operates and have a consultant come in and talk about their practices . . . . The board hasn’t been refreshed in some time, there should be more turnover. I don’t think the board has done a bad job, but there are other aspects to a community hospital.”

Meanwhile, the search for a new president and CEO has reached the final stages with three strong candidates in the running for the top post, Mr. Walsh said.

A severance agreement with Mr. Woodin remains unsettled, he said.

Last week, the hospital distributed a fall/winter newsletter as an insert in Island newspapers, which included information about hospital visits as well as summary financial statements for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. It is the first time in several years that the hospital has included financial information in a public report. The statement shows the hospital running in the black. Total operating revenue for the 12-month period was $85.5 million while total expenses were $84.9 million. Fundraising for the year totaled $1.6 million, and net gains on investments were reported as $4 million.

By contrast, the Windemere Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Facility continues to post large losses. Windemere reported total operating revenue of $6.8 million and total expenses of $8.3 million, ending in a loss of $1.5 million. Fundraising for the year added only $19,000, and no investment income was reported.

Mr. Walsh said the financial situation at Windemere remains precarious.

“It’s a huge problem. And it’s growing,” he said. With 61 residents, the nursing home is full, he said. But 90 per cent of the residents are on Medicaid whose reimbursements have been static since 2012. And costs continue to climb, especially given the need to hire large numbers of so-called travelers because there is not enough skilled labor on Island to staff the nursing home. “The travelers are hurting us — 65 per cent of the staff is travelers,” Mr. Walsh said. He said for now Windemere is being subsidized from the hospital side, while analysis of the problems remains ongoing.

In annual statistics, the hospital had 14,348 emergency room visits, 30,335 primary care visits, 192,841 laboratory tests, 41,124 physical therapy treatments between Oct. 1 2016 and Sept. 30 2017. And 142 babies were born.

The newsletter also includes a story about telemedicine, an interview with chief medical officer Dr. Peter Pil about the opioid crisis on the Island and step-by-step instructions on how to use Naloxone, the overdose reversal drug.

Mr. Capoccia called the newsletter a good first step for the hospital in making more information readily available to the public.

“I would say the newsletter was a beginning,” he said. “It was the first time I had seen financial information published, but that’s half the equation — it’s not the listening part, it doesn’t give people an opportunity to be heard who have something to say.”

As for the next step for the citizen group, Mr. Capoccia said the group will meet again, but at this stage its work may well be done. “I think the question really is where does the board go from here?” he said. “It’s not our job to do the community meeting, it’s not our job to carry all the messages . . . . this board needs to take some responsibility or change itself enough to take some responsibility so they can go somewhere.”