Monday, October 22

DC HOSPITAL CLOSING HELPED START A TREND

ALTERNET - All across the country, a new epidemic is threatening people's health -- the culprit is the closure of community hospitals and those most at risk are low- income and people of color.

"This is the hospital that I take my 94-year-old mother to. This is the hospital that I was born in ... this is the hospital that I take my nieces and nephews to, the hospital where most everyone in my community goes and where all my loved ones and family members have been and still get treated," said Jim Anderson, describing the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y., just one of many community hospitals across the nation that are slated to be shut down within the next year. . .

"The same thing is happening in ... New Orleans ... Nashville ... Philadelphia ... Los Angeles ... right here in Atlanta with Grady Memorial Hospital," folks from all over chimed in to share stories about their struggle to keep their community hospitals open. . . .

State governments all across the country are conducting "studies" largely behind closed doors to "restructure" healthcare facilities, which has resulted in numerous plans for closures and forced mergers.

With hardly any input from the community that would be the most affected by its decisions, such as the hospital workers themselves, the commission released dozens of recommendations in 2006 ultimately affecting the entire public hospital and nursing home system in New York. In the Buffalo area alone, six hospitals -- almost all of which serve high needs communities of color, low-income people, disabled persons and seniors -- are slated for closure.

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