While Meriden residents are celebrating the 20th anniversary of MidState Medical Center, those in Southington are trying to save their hospital. Whether that’s possible remains in doubt considering the trends in health-care delivery, but town residents should be admired for their resolve.
Late last month, town residents and others, including current and former employees and former patients of Bradley Hospital, crowded into Town Council chambers to urge officials to do what they can to keep Hartford Healthcare from taking apart the local hospital. Hartford Healthcare officials say they are committed to providing health care in Southington, but that’s not the same as saying there’s a commitment to keeping Bradley.
Bradley is now a campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, which is under the Hartford Healthcare umbrella. These consolidations are the way it’s been going when it comes to delivering health care, in much the same way regionalization has typified trends in other enterprises.
Garry Havican, president of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, said there are no finalized plans in place and that decisions would be made in cooperation with town leaders, but if that doesn’t sound reassuring there’s a reason. Plans being considered include tearing down Bradley — the building is about 100 years old — and replacing it. There could also be a satellite emergency room somewhere else, where patients would be stabilized before being sent to another hospital. Havican says inpatient numbers at Bradley are down to four a day and that it doesn’t make financial sense to prop up the aging building.
There is an issue of trust. Some see in the way things have developed with Bradley a pattern of depleting services and then saying those services can’t be maintained, and that is among the more disturbing aspects of what’s been happening. Hartford Healthcare officials would do well to be as forthcoming and direct about plans as possible if there’s going to be any chance of alleviating bitterness over what’s being deemed necessary.
Town Council Chairman Chris Palmieri told those gathered at the recent meeting that “we’re doing everything we can to advocate for our hospital.” We hope that can lead to a satisfying outcome for those who support Bradley and the commitment to health care in Southington it represents.