By Ed Harris
Hartford Healthcare has decided to pause the process of submitting a Certificate of Need that would possibly allow for alternate uses of the inpatient unit at Bradley Memorial Hospital. Hospital officials had originally planned on submitting for the certificate in September.
The decision came on the heels of Monday’s Town Council meeting, where a standing room only crowd of residents voiced its displeasure about over the possible changes at Bradley.
“Hartford HealthCare has listened to the community, and based on what we’ve heard we feel it’s important to pause the process and not submit a Certificate of Need in September as we had planned,” said Rebecca Stewart, media relations director for Hartford Healthcare, of which Bradley is a part. “Instead, we want to take the time necessary to reach out and engage the Southington community about how, working together, we can best provide the most appropriate health care services and programs at the Bradley Memorial Campus and within the town of Southington.”
Over the course of the last year and a half, hospital officials have looked at a whole range of possible changes at Bradley. These changes include the consolidation of services, the possibility of moving the emergency room to a new location on Queen Street and a desire to close the inpatient unit or refurbish it for an alternate use.
The possible changes have led to public outcry and recently hospital officials announced a committee, made up of hospital officials and local leaders, to discuss the future of Bradley Memorial Hospital.
The committee held its first meeting on Tuesday. Though there is no formal schedule, the committee is expected to meet every other week. The committee will likely announce its recommendations by the end of the year.
Town Councilor Chris Palmieri is a member of the committee and he asked Hartford Healthcare to wait on the Certificate of Need.
“Them moving forward with the Certificate of Need was contradictory to the committee,” Palmieri said. “I think this is a step in the right direction.”
The decision is also sitting well with those who spoke out at Monday’s Town Council meeting. Rosemary Champagne, who has collected over 3,000 signatures for a petition aimed at keeping Bradley open, said she is pleased with the latest developments and is happy to see that more people will be involved in the process. She is hopeful that a reasonable compromise could be reached.