October 8, 2013

Several candidates weigh in on Bristol Hospital sale

Here are some more comments about the proposed sale of Bristol Hospital that some candidates sent me in late August. Most of the contenders didn't take the opportunity to say anything on the issue.

Here's what Calvin Brown, Democratic City Council hopeful had to say:
A non-profit Bristol Hospital helps to ensure both quality and affordable community healthcare for Bristol residents at a time when Bristol has a very large elderly population with fixed income, and a very large population of people struggling to make ends meet. Maintaining Bristol Hospital as a community oriented, non-profit entity should be a priority, or the long-term affects on the quality of life and care for Bristol residents will diminish. Also, I would hate to see the very capable doctors, nurses, and facilities staff who work at Bristol Hospital and who are such valuable assets to our community lose their jobs in the process of privatization.

Here's what Republican city Councilor Eric Carlson had to say:
 I think that if it converts to a for profit hospital they will have the ability and desire to expand services. An expansion into more profitable areas of healthcare will be a plus for the city. The hospital seems to have  a fair patient survey rating by one rating agency, and if sold will have an incentive to improve customer service.
     I do wonder why anyone would want to expand into the healthcare field in Connecticut after the passage of the last State Budget and the subsequent cuts to reimbursements. The unknowns with the stunted and erratic implementation of Obamacare look like a minus in investments in healthcare due to the drastic cuts to Medicare and the likely loss of revenue with the increase of Medicaid patients.

Here's what Republican mayoral candidate Ken Cockayne had to say:

The issue as to whether or not Bristol Hospital will be sold is not up to the Mayor or City Council.  It is purely a state issue.
I know from my time on the City Council that Bristol Hospital has had financial problems and this move is designed to help resolve that problem.  With re-imbursement cuts from Medicare and Medicaid, and the number of uninsured patients, Bristol hospital is not alone in dealing with this financial crunch.
Bristol residents need to remember that Bristol Hospital is one of our largest employers and their economic vitality is critical to maintain these jobs, and if this sale could lead to more medical services and more jobs in those fields than we need to keep an open mind and look at this issue with objectivity.
The issue I find alarming is that after the members of the General Assembly agreed on bill that was signed off on by the Governor’s office the Governor surprised everyone and vetoed the bill. With the proposed cuts in aid to municipalities, and the Governor and General Assembly unwilling to offer any relief from unfunded mandates these are very difficult times.  We need to look at every opportunity to increase revenue for our city and help an employer save jobs and avert layoffs.

And, finally, here's what Democratic City Council hopeful Ellen Zoppo-Sassu had to say:

Bristol Hospital is the third largest employer in the city with over 1700 employees. It is my understanding that they are ensuring that the hospital has a plan for future sustainability is economically crucial in this phase of healthcare reform. As an elected council member, I would work with them to ensure lines of communication are open between the city and their board and officers, as well as on the matter of neighborhood relations. 

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

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