Count me among those who hope the MedWest affiliation between Haywood, Jackson and Swain hospitals survives. It's been a tumultuous four years for the hospitals in the counties west of Buncombe. Despite the bumps in the road, though, there seems now at least a path—via the management contract with Carolinas HealthCare—for the three hospitals to move into the future serving pretty much the same role in their communities they’ve been serving for decades. But by my estimation I think Haywood, Jackson and Swain counties deserve their own hospitals with their own specialists and their own medical communities. We share a lot, but each county can support its own hospital. And the best chance for that to happen is by working together.