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Letter: Our hospital

I believe Jillian Johnson of Gill (letters March 23) missed the point of the March 6 meeting held to discuss Baystate Franklin Medical Center. This was not a meeting about the nurses’ contract negotiations. It was about changes that are happening at the hospital that seem to only respond to the hospital’s needs, whether those be financial or staffing.

The more than 100 people in attendance asked questions about these policy changes because they the impact on the lives of the patient population in Franklin County in significant ways. For instance, many people’s jobs do not pay them sick time. A 10:30 a.m. follow-up care appointment in Springfield wipes out an entire workday. Yet, Baystate Franklin’s policies now often require patients to travel to Springfield eight times over the course of two or three months to check in with the doctor. Why can’t some of those visits take place here? Efficiency is not enough of an answer.

We understand that nonprofit managers must look at the bottom line. The question is how are conditions of life in Franklin County factored into the equation?

Economies of scale are necessary if a system is to run well. We do not expect that Franklin Medical Center will replicate Baystate in Springfield. But why can’t the very pediatricians who work in Springfield, work at Baystate Franklin two or three days per week for follow-up care? Why must elders in Warwick have to find someone to drive them to Springfield for 1-minute follow-up appointment? Are there not better ways to do this?

At the March 6 meeting, community members said that they want to assist in making the system more rational for the hospital and for the people here. This does not have to be confrontational. It could be an effort to find solutions. We love our hospital. We recognize that there are challenges. Can we find a way to work together?



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