By LINDSAY CAREY
The Community Committee to Save Bradley said that they have still not received answers from Hartford Healthcare regarding their request for more inpatient beds at Bradley Memorial Hospital.
CCSB founder Bonnie Sica was sporting a royal blue t-shirt that said “Restore Bradley Memorial Hospital” on the front and “Hartford Healthcare” circled on the back with a slash through it, as she addressed her fellow residents at a meeting last week in the Southington Police Department meeting room.
Sica shared a positive update that the hospital is being restored by Hartford Healthcare to an extent.
“I’m very happy to say that everything we talked about at our last meeting really has been set tp restore, except for the beds” said Sica. “The radiology is going to stay, the lab is staying, the cafeteria is back open, the emergency department is staying. All those things are back up, they’re working. They’re running.”
According to Sica, president of the Central region of Hartford Healthcare Lucille Janatka pushed the census from nine inpatient beds to 15 inpatient beds after a resident wrote a complaint. Although appreciative of the progress, Sica said this change isn’t enough and a couple of people at the meeting shared that recent visits to Bradley proved that there is a need for more beds.
One resident at the meeting shared she had used the ER three times within the last month and two out of three visits was not able to get a bed for her father.
“I’m here to help restore Bradley to what Bradley used to be,” said the woman. “I want it to be the hospital where I was a candy striper. I want it to be an effective hospital; we need a hospital not an ER.”
The CCSB has requested that HHC have 30 inpatient beds filled at Bradley and also make sure that the hospital is staffed properly.
However, even after a meeting with representatives from HHC, she said they still have not responded.
“They won’t even say we’re working on a plan to get more beds,” said Sica.
She said HHC has failed to answer the question of why the hospital can’t get more beds and has also failed to provide profit and loss statements to CCSB and the Town Council.
“You can’t say Bradley is losing money, but not show it to us,” said Sica.
Sica that she is continuing to prepare a legal case against HHC if the company decides to file a Certificate of Need with the state, which could change the future of Bradley completely.
“If they want to take this to the state, then we will take it to the state, but hopefully it doesn’t have to come to that,” said Sica.
She said she is willing to work with HHC to make Bradley a thriving hospital if they decide to provide more beds. As of right now, Sica said she continues to encourage people to use the hospital because her fear is that HHC will use statistics to say the Emergency Room is bringing in low numbers.
Some people at the meeting said when they have used ambulances recently, the emergency drivers have discouraged patients from going to Bradley.
According to Sica, the Town Council has met with AMR regarding this issue, but nothing has changed.
The other founder of CCSB Rosemary Champagne, who is also on the HHC’s Bradley Community Advisory Committee, shared her stance on the current state of the hospital.
Based on her meetings in that committee, Champagne said she feels that HHC does care and is trying to help to make Bradley “something beautiful” even if it’s not what it once was.
She said that she feels fighting HHC will get residents nowhere because at the end of the day HHC owns the hospital.
“Our choice here tonight is to understand and try to come together as a group not as enemies, not as two divided units, but as a group who is trying to work with the Hartford Healthcare to make Bradley something that we can all be proud of,” said Champagne.
Despite Champagne’s unifying message, most of the people at the meeting were not as hopeful.
By the end of the meeting, the group managed to agree their next step would be to encourage more people to use the hospital and also to contact their state representatives about the issue now that the election has come to a close.
Additionally, the group will continue to seek support for Bradley from their physicians in town.
“The doctors have to step up together as a consortium,” said Sica.
Along with the t-shirts, the group has buttons and lawn signs out around town for publicity.
For more information about the CCSB, visit its website at Savebradley.wix.com/help or find updates on Facebook at Restore Bradley.
Lynn Faria from Hartford Healthcare was present taking notes at the meeting and Town Councilors Victoria Triano, Christopher Palmieri, Dawn Miceli and State Rep. Dave Zoni also attended to show support towards the effort.
By LINDSAY CAREY