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Letter: Baystate challenge

Community Health Care Initiative is a group of residents concerned about local access to quality health-care services in Franklin County, specifically at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Many of these issues were also raised during a forum sponsored by the FMC nurses last March. Lack of an urologist, gerontology and pediatric services, mental health and detoxification services and the lack of a settled contract with the FMC nurses were among the issues raised by forum attendees. We are especially interested in Baystate’s plan for the future of our hospital.

On May 16, there was a public hearing before the Planning Board and the Economic Development Committee of the Town Council regarding Baystate’s acquisition of the Holy Trinity property near the hospital. Several members of the Community Health Care Initiative attended. At this meeting, Baystate representatives said that their plan is to grow and enhance the services offered at our medical center.

Since the CHCI mission is to support health-care services in our community, we were glad to hear this. However, we think it is important for residents of Franklin County to know the specifics of this plan, and its time line. A concern that we have heard locally is that Baystate plans to use Franklin Medical center as a “feeder” hospital for its operation in Springfield, meaning that services would be cutback here and our need to travel for medical treatments would be increased. This approach would place a hardship on family members trying to support patients who were moved to Springfield, while also meeting their local responsibilities at home and work.

We urge Baystate to use the press to explain to us, the local community and potential patients, what the future of our hospital looks like. We ask Baystate to present us with a plan as to which services will be retained, enhanced and/or changed over the next few years. We hope Baystate will rise to this challenge.

PATTI WILLIAMS

Greenfield

for the CHCI

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