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Will Your Community Lose Its Hospital?


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Will Your Community Lose Its Hospital?

By Anna Kirsch and Jim Anderson, AlterNet. Posted October 17, 2007.

Why community hospitals are closing all across the United States and yours could be next.

All across the country, a new epidemic is threatening people's health -- the culprit is the closure of community hospitals and those most at risk are low-income and people of color.

"This is the hospital that I take my 94-year-old mother to. This is the hospital that I was born in ... this is the hospital that I take my nieces and nephews to, the hospital where most everyone in my community goes and where all my loved ones and family members have been and still get treated," said Jim Anderson, describing the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, N.Y., just one of many community hospitals across the nation that are slated to be shut down within the next year.

"This hospital is located in the heart of the black community here, and it serves any and everybody ... it has its problems, but the answer is not to shut it down," said Anderson, a New York correspondent for Poor Magazine and the PoorNewsNetwork (PNN), a grassroots media organization based in San Francisco dedicated to reframing the news and views around issues of racism and poverty.

I first heard Anderson speak in one of Poor Magazine's community newsroom meetings at the United States Social Forum in Atlanta this June, where he talked about the struggle he has faced in getting any sort of healthcare as a poor African-descendent man in this country.

As he spoke to crowd of folks struggling with poverty, racism and disability about the hospital closure crisis facing poor communities of color across the entire state of New York, one hand after another shot up in the air.

"The same thing is happening in ... New Orleans ... Nashville ... Philadelphia ... Los Angeles ... right here in Atlanta with Grady Memorial Hospital," folks from all over chimed in to share stories about their struggle to keep their community hospitals open.

Grady Memorial Hospital, which is the largest publicly funded hospital in the state of Georgia, was located just a few miles away from our meeting that day in Atlanta and is often referred to as the "only hospital that treats poor people."

Rev. Calvin E. Peterson, a formerly houseless, disabled man who was born at Grady Hospital in 1948 and also worked with the hospital on their accessibility plan, said that the entire poor, black community would be in an uproar if the state closed it down.

The hospital is facing mounting financial problems and could be closed by the end of the year if an agreement is not reached. This could leave thousands, such as Peterson, suffering and without a place to receive care.

Although Grady has been criticized by many for its inadequate services, if the state hospital could receive the much-needed funding -- that is currently being denied -- it could hire the necessary staff and make improvements.

Article Continues........


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Interesting. How are these hospitals funded, and why are they closing down ?

Meow Purr.

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Illegal immigration is forcing many American hospitals to close. May not be the only reason but I hear it is the main reason for many of them.

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