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Letter: Let’s focus on the issue

Dr Natenshon writes (March 20) that he is becoming angry with the negative publicity directed at Baystate Health Systems because he believes it is undermining community confidence in our hospital. I have been following this issue quite closely and I have seen nothing suggesting a lack of confidence in the doctors, nurses or staff of Baystate Franklin Medical Center. On the contrary, I believe there is widespread satisfaction with and admiration for the job done by the medical and support staffs.

In 1986, an unfortunate decision was made to allow Baystate Health Systems to purchase our local hospital. Those who opposed the sale worried that MBAs in cities to the south of Franklln County would make decisions based on bottom-line math instead of local Franklin County needs. Today, we have a hospital that has closed our detox service, our visiting nurses program, our hospice services, and reduced our mental health services.

Our children have no local hospital because Baystate has resisted our pleas for pediatric hospital admissions.

Now our nurses find themselves in a protracted fight with outside administrators who are fighting them over mandatory overtime and working conditions.

Our local hospital is blessed with an outstanding team of physicians, nurses and lay staff who are also our neighbors and friends. The negative publicity to which Dr. Natenshon refers is directed solely toward the administration of Baystate Health Systems, a Springfield-based corporation that has balanced its budgets at the expense of our drug-dependent, mentally ill, home-bound and terminally ill neighbors.

If community dissatisfaction with Baystate Health Systems is causing strife within the hospital, we need to focus our anger and frustration where it belongs, on the administration of Baystate Health Systems rather than on the nurses and patients whose needs are being sacrificed to a corporate bottom line.

ROBERT SAGOR

Greenfield

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