By SHERIDAN CYR
The public showed their support for the Hospital of Central Connecticut at Bradley Memorial Campus on Monday. It was standing-room only the municipal center assembly room during the public comment portion of the July 23 Town Council meeting.
Bonnie Sica, one of the founders of the Community Committee to Save Bradley, led the conversation.
“I want to personally thank each one of you for your support and for working so closely with us to save our hospital,” Sica said to the council. She told town leaders to stop believing Hartford HealthCare, and noted some of the claims that have been made in recent years, including a $6 million investment in Bradley that did not come to fruition.
Sica said in 2017, Bradley’s inpatient revenue increased by $14.4 million, while the outpatient revenue decreased by $11.6 million. She said this counters HHC arguments that healthcare has changed and inpatient care is less of a need due to medical advancements.
“I think we were right when the public said we know what we want and need, and what our population is,” she said. “They cut lots of people at Bradley, but after all of that that, we still made money.”
Jose Perez, the secretary and treasurer of the union that represents Bradley staff, the Connecticut Healthcare Association, called the situation “disheartening,” stating that HHC has been “piecemealing” Bradley, cutting down services and staff.
“I don’t believe they are a nonprofit because everything they do is to benefit them,” Perez said. He lives nearby Bradley, and said there have been health complications in the family recently. “We want to make sure that if an emergency does happen, we’re 4 or 5 minutes away from a hospital.”
Several others, including Bradley past and current staff and residents who have experienced care at Bradley, shared similar sentiments. Many shared experiences of loved ones who were in dire emergency situations and refused to receive care anywhere else, and upon arrival, were greeted with friendly, familiar faces.
One resident shared an AARP article that said micro-hospitals are the future of healthcare, which are described as 20-bed units and an emergency room. “That’s what Bradley is,” she said. She also said Bradley has grown, changed, developed and “kept pace with changes in healthcare needs.”
Town Council chair Chris Palmieri (D), who has noted support for Bradley on several occasions, thanked residents for their comments.
“The council stands behind you. I think we’ve made our selves clear,” he said. “We will do everything we can to advocate for our hospital.”
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.