March 4, 2009

Don't build a new hospital in Farmington

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.

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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Steve, you should be writing the editorials in the Press or at least a column. Right now almost all of the editorials and columns they have are badly written and poorly argued. You'd be so much better. Thanks for defending Bristol Hospital.

Anonymous said...

"Why should taxpayers foot the bill for a brand new second hospital for Hartford Hospital to operate?"

Why should Yale University Hospital, a private institution receive almost 10 times the federal money that UCONN gets? Our State University teaching hospital should be state of the art and deserve at least as much attention as a private university.

Anonymous said...

UCONN will need a hospital to attract and compete with other medicals schools if intends to retain top teaching doctors and medical students. Once that hospital goes away you can kiss the status UNCONN holds as a top school. Also with a new hospital will come a research area that could be the best in the country. 500 million sounds like alot, but to have the best medical facility in the country I am willing to put my tax dollars where it counts. Nobody knows either how much the feds will kick in for a new hospital either.

Steve Collins said...

Some of the best med schools don't have a hospital of their own. But perhap UConn needs one. My argument is that if it needs one, it should be in Hartford. And an expanded Hartford Hospital, which is already a fine hospital, might be the perfect answer.
The problem with putting it in Farmington is that we don't need a hospital in Farmington. We need more health care in Hartford and other depressed cities.
I don't much about medical care, but I'm sure the lure of Farmington isn't the health care of its residents. It's the health insurance its residents possess.

Anonymous said...

Good idea. More free healthcare for the poor at our expense. Meanwhile the middle class is left out and suffers some more. Some of you will never learn or be able to see the whole picture. One day we are going to wake up and it will be a two class society. Poor and Rich. And Bristol Hospital is terrible. Dirty, lazy and unprofessional staff (some of them). Long wait times. Lots of Medical mistakes and things overlooked. Careless mistakes really. It could be fixed if the employees actually gave a damn. Uconn is no better- but don't make Bristol sound so good. They are FAR from it. I'd rather see the local medicine man or witch doctor before I go to Bristol Hospital. I think Steve was out shoveling in the cold a bit to long this last storm. He isn't thinking very clearly.

Steve Collins said...

If Bristol doesn't stand up for its hospital, it won't have one. Really.

Anonymous said...

Build the hospital in Bristol!

Anonymous said...

Lets see what our legislators do with this one!

Anonymous said...

Id love to have a quality hospital next door in Farmington, that way I won't have to go all the way to Hartford for quality care. I wouldn't take my dog to Bristol Hospital.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't even bring my mother-in-law to Bristol Hospital.

Anonymous said...

The wait time at BH is not bad in comparison to other ED's in this country. In other cities, even critical patients, are waiting 8-12hours for care. That doesn't happen in our ER. Don't let mistakes of the past ruin the good work of our current employees. WE work hard every day to treat every patient with the best care possible. Not many people get to see how much goes into us trying to please and care for our patients. Let's give some credit where it is due. We work hard and our best is often ignored by many. Our current staff is not responsible for mistakes of the past. Why not try to be supportive of the local hospital and keep the many residents of Bristol who work at the hospital in business. We are always there when you need us. Try being there for us when we need you.

Steve Collins said...

2:09 -- Thank you for writing. I agree with you completely. We can focus on the hospital's mistakes or flaws, but the simple reality is that without it, Bristol would be diminished severely. It's fair to push the hospital to improve, just like it's fair to push the newspaper to get better, but in the end, we either support it to the hilt or we won't have a hospital in Bristol.

Poboy said...

"My argument is that if it needs one, it should be in Hartford."

Good point. How about this? Across the river, adjacent to the football stadium . Great access, plenty of real estate, ties in two Uconn facilities and still close to Hartford.

Concerned Conservative said...

For those of us who live in Bristol, the UConn Health Center is a good facility to have near-by. Moving it to Hartford will only make it less convenient.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone get out of Bristol Hospital without contracting MRSA? I don't know any recent patients who haven't gotten it.

Poboy said...

"Does anyone get out of Bristol Hospital without contracting MRSA? I don't know any recent patients who haven't gotten it."
An elderly relative of mine recently spent 6 days there and received excellent care, no MRSA.

Anonymous said...

in regards to "does anyone get out of the hospital without MRSA"... did you ever stop and wonder how many people have MRSA when they show up and are diagnosed once they get there??? It happens all the time. People come in with it and don't even realize it. Look into the real causes of MRSA and you will understand that it isn't always something that the hospital is causing. The overuse of antibiotics in our society, mutating infections, increased susceptabilty in all people...these are reasons for the increase in MRSA. You expose anyone who is susceptible to a hospital environment, where they are exposed to every illness and infection that they encounter just walking throught the door and they are at great risk of contracting anything. It is so easy to blame the hospital. Many people come in unknowingly with UTIs. Is that blamed on the hospital too? You go into the ER sick and are diagnosed with pneumonia, is it the hospital's fault that you developed it? We need society to practice some common sense in regards to these issues. There are so many ignorant reasons why people dislike BH. You don't like your doctor and he is on staff at BH therefore you don't like BH. Grandpa died there in the 70's, therefore you don't like the hospital because you associate it with negative experiences in your own life. People complain about BH, but in an emergency, I thank God that it is so close. There are so many patients that would not survive the drive to NB, Farmington or Waterbury. Until you experience that reality first hand, it is difficult to grasp why we need our local hospital so much. You may say now that you would not bring your dog there, but when your family member stops breathing or has an MI, you would be amazed at how much you appreciate the local hospital saving their life, which believe it or not happens every day in our ER. People tend to forget that until they are faced with it. That is the huge issue here. Complain that BH is awful until you actually need care. You will be grateful that it is here. It is an awfully long drive to Farmington when someone is pumping air into your lungs to keep you alive, compared to 5 minutes to the hospital in your hometown. Time saves lives. Just seconds can make a difference between life and death. I want my hospital minutes away, not a half and hour.

Anonymous said...

When Obama gets health care under government control, it will suck no matter where you go. It'll be like going to the DMV. Unless you're a senior, in which case you will be told to just stay home and die.

Anonymous said...

How Far? How far, for residents in Avon and Farmington, Canton, etc should they have to go for health care? Hartford?

The plan is basically updating the Hospital. It is going to increase the amount of beds by 26. From 224 to 250. If that is going to make an impact on Bristol Hospital, then they have much bigger problems.

Also, the school is located in Farmington and we do not have mass transit here in CT. You cannot compare other facilities or schools that do not have a hospital attached......