SOUTHINGTON — Hartford HealthCare officials are considering other uses for the Bradley campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut.
Gary Havican, Hospital of Central Connecticut president, said in a letter to Bradley employees this week that “maintaining the current services at the Bradley campus is not consistent with best medical practices and providing world-class healthcare in Southington.”
Current services include an emergency room, surgery unit, cardiology, x-ray and CT Scan.
Havican wrote that he has been meeting with town officials over the past month.
“I’ve expressed Hartford HealthCare’s sincere desire to work with town leaders to see whether there might be other uses for the campus that would be more suitable,” he wrote.
In an interview, Havican said plans haven’t been finalized and that any decisions would happen in cooperation with town leaders. But Havican said inpatient numbers have dropped to four per day and that modernizing the aging building is financially prohibitive.
“We need to make changes at the Bradley campus,” he said. “We know we need to make a change.”
Plans under consideration could include razing the century-old building and replacing it with a health care campus, Havican said.
Changes could also include creating a satellite emergency room at another location, a model that has been successful in Plainfield. Such a facility would stabilize patients before sending them to another hospital such as the New Britain campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut.
Hartford HealthCare has 840 employees in town and recently opened a new facility on Queen Street. Havican said the company has shown its commitment to maintaining and adding services in town through its recent investments.
While the hospital isn’t taxable, Havican said a health care campus would be, as are other Hartford HealthCare facilities in Southington.
Hartford HealthCare officials suggested closing down the Bradley campus and donating the land to the town for a park. Havican said that was “less popular” with town leaders.
On Monday, town councilors heard from residents who want the Bradley campus maintained and the emergency room kept at the Meriden Avenue location.
Chris Palmieri, council chairman, said he and other town leaders were “fighting” to keep medical services.
“We would accept nothing less than a medical facility on that site, first and foremost,” Palmieri said. “We want it in the heart of the central downtown location.”
“We are going to fight for an asset in our community in that location,” he said.
A plan several years ago to move the emergency room to Queen Street was met with strong opposition from some residents. Hartford HealthCare officials eventually agreed to keep the emergency room on Meriden Avenue.
Bonnie Sica, a founder of the Community Committee to Save Bradley, said satellite emergency rooms don’t make sense when other hospitals are so close. Sica said tearing down Bradley was “stealing the town’s history.”
“Bradley Hospital was donated to our town and we don’t want to lose our hospital,” she said. “We don’t need a stand-alone ER.”
If those plans move forward, Sica said her group will oppose it and ask that the town sever all ties with Hartford HealthCare and get other hospital groups to provide medical programming.
“We will fight them. We will picket, we will rally,” she said.
Sica called for a boycott of the Queen Center facility two years ago, saying it was being used to supplant the Bradley hospital. Hartford HealthCare officials said they were committed to serving patients at Bradley and that they’d planned an extensive renovation to the Bradley emergency room.
In 2014, hospital group officials said they’d invested millions into Bradley.
"People don't do that to a facility they're thinking of closing," said Hartford HealthCare spokeswoman Rebecca Stewart in a 2014 interview. "We know how much we believe in Bradley hospital."