A 58-page report on the supposed economic benefits of having the state build a $500 million hospital to replace the UConn Health Center -- and then give it to Hartford Hospital along with an annual subsidy -- doesn't take even a glancing look at the impact the plan would have on Bristol Hospital or the community it serves.
In fact, Bristol isn't mentioned even a single time in the entire report. Neither, for that matter, is New Britain.
I can understand the push to have a medical hospital devoted to training the next generation of doctors, but the logic of having it in Farmington escapes me completely. Put it where the medical need is greatest: in Hartford.
Bristol and New Britain, the two cities closest to the UConn Health Center, have hospitals that are serving the area just fine. They are also more than willing to work with doctors in training, too, because they would benefit greatly from that.
But putting a giant new hospital on the site of the failed John Dempsey Hospital doesn't make any sense at all, even if the study finds it will create 18,200 jobs by 2040. I'd be curious if it would create as many jobs if it was built next door to Hartford Hospital, or if Hartford Hospital got the money to expand instead.
It's probably worth having a top-flight medical school in Farmington, but any associated hospital ought to be in Hartford, where it can draw from a wider region, serve a needier population and present young physicians with a wider range of health issues.
Wouldn't it make more sense to put money into expanding Hartford Hospital or St. Francis Hospital where they are now than to replace a hospital in Farmington that's already shown it's in the wrong place?
Why should taxpayers foot the bill for a brand new second hospital for Hartford Hospital to operate? For the same money, after all, we could easily enhance a whole bunch of other hospitals, including Bristol Hospital.
I'd rather have a number of renovated hospitals around the state than one great big new one that serves a truncated, squeezed area so close to existing institutions. I'd bet, too, that overhauling the other hospitals instead would create at least as many jobs -- and more of them would be in Bristol.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org