October 8, 2013

Kramer: Speak out to stop Bristol Hospital sale

Here's a piece by unaffiliated City Council candidate Frank Kramer on the proposed sale of Bristol Hospital:

Last Tuesday when it became official that the long sought union between Vanguard Health Systems and Tenet was finalized at the alter of the SEC and other regulatory bodies, it reminded this council contender, once again, just  how tiny the potential consequences  of that ill fated marriage appeared under the radar.  More specifically, the political radar. And not for lack of trying. Like myself, all candidates running for the mayoralty and every council seat  were asked to chime in on the subject. We were asked to chime in on the subject because, according to, at least one newspaper in town, the subject was that important. And it wasn't as if we were asked this question the day before yesterday. No. Candidates were asked, and let me be precise,  on 9/4/13. Over a month ago.

With Bristol Hospital's community and non-profit orientation  having served this region so well for so long, you have to scratch your head and wonder why, in light of it's imminent consumption by one of the most disreputable, abuse laden entities to ever disgrace the American corporate landscape, you don't hear a peep from Bristol's political roundabout. As poorly behaved as some corporations are in their successes at off shoring ill gotten gains; out sourcing, to everywhere else but America, jobs; finding every loophole available to avoid paying taxes on historically high profits while raking in gobs of corporate welfare; and suggesting that paying workers unsustainable living wages with no benefits, teaches discipline---for argument's sake, let's just give them a pass and give them a  " get out of jail card, " free of charge. But revocable at a future date.

From the Republican point of view I can understand their collective silence. Profit, at any price, is a good thing and let's just leave it at that.  In all probability --and I hope and pray that I'm proven wrong-- they have no idea who the real players are. Or who was that quarterback that threw the ball for the championship touchdown? But maybe they don't care, because, you know, a free market-trickle down economy always takes care of itself. What, in heavens name, could ever go wrong? Oh, that  2005-2007 meltdown depression era like thing that almost spelled the end ?  C'mon, that was just one of those blips we get all the time. Get real and, besides, healthcare isn't a right---especially when you can't afford it. Though, I actually do stand corrected. Giving credit where credit is due, it was Councilman Cockayne, our only elected representative to display enough interest to, at least, attend last summer's Community Health Assessment Needs event sponsored by Bristol Hospital. A very important event as the Hospital sought from members of the community ideas on what the most pressing health issues confronting Bristol were going to be in 2014 and how best to address them. Cockayne was just as engaged as everyone else who had both personal and professional stakes in the forum.

No, rather, it's the deafening silence of the Democrats, from the mayoralty hopeful on down who have lost their their moral compass, maybe even their ethical perspectives. One's compelled to ask the question: " whatever happened to that party that had always purported, and usually did stick up for the little guy? "  That party that rallied under the progressive banners of workplace safety, social security, medicare, civil and women's rights. ObamaCare. 

Well, in Bristol, it's clear that when someone tells them to jump, they jump. Or in this case, not the cat getting their tongue but a party boss? Well, so we're all clear on what's at stake, my contention is this: that  the  Governor must maintain his veto on  final closing of that deal. Thereby preventing non profit Bristol Hospital, and by extension, all non-profit hospitals in Connecticut from be acquired by for-profit Corporate Hospital Chains. Particularly by Corporate predators whose history of abusive practices include unnecessary procedures up to and including open heart surgery,kick backs,medicare/medicaid fraud, labor abuse, and securities fraud.  To name just a few. Their business model seems to be based on an absence of ethics, morals, and that certain strand of DNA allowing a human being to feel compassion and empathy for another human being. Rarely admitting to any wrongdoing, for profit hospital chains, like Tenet, rather see settlements to allegations as the cost for doing business. Whether it be charges leveled by the DOJ, Departments of HSS, various state agencies and finally, class actions suits brought on by patients, workers and even investors, it's  a very costly game to your average American taxpayer or patient. But not to their executives, with Romney like salaries, bonuses, and stock options amounting to millions.
So Democrats, chime in when you have the guts to buck that big buck. Tell us why the people of Bristol don't deserve to hear your views on their health care as it may one day be delivered by an entity other than Bristol Hospital.

One final note: The profit motive component in our capitalistic economy often yields wonders in the fields of technology, manufacturing, innovation, medicine. We need that component to remain strong in these endeavors. But when it comes to healthcare, it falls flat; worse, it causes harm.
Copyright 2013 All rights reserved. Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

No comments: