By Lindsay Carey
In response to Hartford Healthcare’s proposed changes to the Bradley Memorial Hospital and the appointment of Bradley Community Advisory Committee for consultation, some members of the community are responding by starting their own committee.
Bonnie Sica and Rosemary Champagne have launched the Community Committee to Save Bradley (CCSB) and the first meeting is schedule for Sept. 10, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Municipal Center.
Champagne is also a member of the Bradley Community Advisory Committee.
The CCSB was founded because there is concern over fair representation in the committee that Hartford Healthcare assembled, which some residents expressed at the “Community Conversation” held by Hartford Healthcare at Derynoski Middle School a few weeks ago.
“I feel that the other committee is not a full representation of our community,” said Sica.
She pointed out that Champagne is the only citizen on the Hartford Healthcare’s committee and also that half of the people on the committee do not live in town.
Sica, along with many others, has accused the committee of being “handpicked.”
The Bradley Community Advisory Committee consists of town council members, Town Manager Garry Brumback, Southington and Plainville Health District Director Shane Lockwood, doctors, Hartford Healthcare representatives, and leaders of community organizations.
“It’s not enough of representation and it’s too closed,” said Sica.
The meetings for this committee are not open to the public and its members are barred from sharing details regarding their discussions.
“We want everyone to have a say, so we’re setting up this meeting so that every single person that wants to help can,” said Sica. “It’s not too late to save the hospital.”
The CCSB is a committee that is open to residents and neighbors of Southington that want to see Bradley Memorial Hospital open.
This new committee is made up of five sub committees and everyone will have a job, according to Sica. For some members that will mean spreading public awareness and for others that will mean sifting through laws and lobbying.
“We are mounting our offense to continue to fight Hartford Healthcare,” said Sica. “We want a fully functioning working hospital.”
According to Sica, their goal is to stop Hartford Healthcare from filing the Certificate of Need in order to close the inpatient care unit at Bradley Memorial and opening an Emergency Room on Queen Street.
The CCSB is willing to go as far as petition a hearing should Hartford Healthcare move forward with the Certificate of Need.
“They’re either going to reinstate our hospital or we’re going to fight them until the very end,” said Sica.
The committee has launched its own website about their mission at savebradley.wix.com/help.
In addition to the concerns about the committee, several people who spoke at the “Community Conversation,” have mentioned concerns about the Bradley Barnes and Leila Upson Barnes Memorial Trust, which was once solely used for the hospital.
However, in the trust, there is a condition that in order for the trust to continue being used it had to remain independent. Since Bradley has joined the Hospital of Central Connecticut, it is no longer acting independently.
The Barnes trust is now administered through the Main Street Foundation. The foundation manages the Barnes trust and it now provides for a variety of non profit organizations in Southington. Organizations have to apply for a grant through the foundation to receive funding.
In January, the foundation used gave $150,000 to Bradley Memorial Hospital for an echocardiograph machine with a vascular probe.
The Town Council held an executive session meeting on the hospital last week. The council, as a whole, was expected to release a statement about the hospital. The statement was not released as of press time Tuesday afternoon.
By Lindsay Carey