October 9, 2013

Jeffries: Take a hard look at proposed sale of Bristol Hospital

Democratic City Council hopeful Steve Jeffries just sent this along:

I had a chance to read what you put out on the blog yesterday about Bristol Hospital and I have to admit that Eric Carlson's statement and his position is absolutely amazing.  Regardless of whether he is my opponent, I really have serious issues with his line of thinking.  Below is my response as I would like to weigh in.

It is in nobody's interest if Bristol Hospital fails as people will end up losing their jobs if it does!  Our priority should be to protect all jobs while ensuring that each and every patient continue to receive the highest level of care possible.  Whenever a bill is put forward that proposes the privatization of a company under certain expectations, further review of that bill is warranted to assure that those expectations are deemed appropriate.  It is the job of our elected officials at both the state and local levels to work with hospital officials to not only address the financial troubles they are facing, but also take into serious consideration the precedent that we would be setting by letting Bristol Hospital become a for profit institution.

My opponent, Mr. Carlson seems once again to be satisfied with the notion of throwing open the doors and letting Bristol become a "for profit city".  With the 65+ population in Connecticut expected to grow close to 65% by 2030, and many previously uninsured folks gaining coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Connecticut is expected to eventually have an additional 330,000 people covered.  Now is the time to take a serious look at the structure of the primary care provider in our city.  We need to start asking the serious questions and have serious discussions before moving forward.

One question could be, how does a for profit hospital plan to make money off of what was formerly a nonprofit hospital?  How would a for profit hospital provide better level of service than previously when it was a not for profit hospital?  Are they willing to sacrifice staff quality to reduce costs for patients?  How do they intend to save money where previously not for profit hospitals could not without sacrificing quality of care?  Unfortunately Mr. Carlson seems reluctant to engage in a discussion to address these questions and is quite satisfied with playing partisan politics at the expense of Bristol jobs, much like Tea Party members of Congress are with Nationwide jobs during the Government Shutdown.  I am disappointed that my opponent continues to put profits above the health and welfare of the citizens of Bristol.  I challenge him to stand up to the principals set by the Tea Party both local and on the national stage by taking a stance on this issue.  Will Mr. Carlson continue to fail his constituents on yet another major issue like he did with Jennings School and the Memorial Boulevard School?  I am asking him to use his remaining time on the council to work with State and hospital officials to find a long term meaningful solution for Bristol Hospital.  I am also open to join in this discussion if invited.

Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

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