Town Meeting Calls on Baystate Health System to Meet Franklin County Health Care Needs
Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, 4/30/13
The resolution responds to concerns by Franklin County residents about the erosion of services once available at BFMC that are now only offered in Springfield --The same resolution will be taken up at nine other town meetings to be held in Franklin County within the next three weeks.
Residents of Deerfield cast an overwhelming vote last night to approve a resolution placed on the warrant for the 2013 Annual Town Meeting, which calls upon Baystate Health System to ensure and maintain a broad range of health services at nearby Baystate Franklin Medical Center and to prevent the further erosion of services once available at BFMC that are now only offered in Springfield. The full text of the resolution can be found at the end of this release.
"Members of this community are deeply concerned about the loss of valuable services at Franklin Medical Center in recent years and this resolution is an attempt to communicate that concern to the leadership of Baystate Health," said Geoff Brown, a Deerfield resident and long-time nurse at Franklin Medical Center who worked with other community members to place the issue on the warrant for the Town Meeting. "It is our sincere hope that Baystate Health will commit the resources and services at BFMC that are needed to maintain the health of the residents of this rural community."
Franklin Medical Center was founded in 1895 and, for nearly a hundred years, it was a stand-alone hospital providing health care to tens of thousands of Franklin County residents. In 1986, Baystate Health took over Franklin Medical Center and initially affiliation with a major health system that had a teaching hospital at its core was a positive development for BFMC. But in the last decade, Baystate Health began cutting services at Franklin Medical Center and in recent years has intensified its program of outsourcing patient care to its flagship facility in Springfield, nearly 40 miles south of Greenfield. These cuts include the elimination of pediatric services, reduced urology services, reduced services for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, elimination of home care services and reduced lab services, along with cuts in the staff who deliver direct patient care.
The resolution was drafted by the registered nurses of Baystate Franklin Medical Center and other concerned community members following a community forum held in March concerning the future of BFMC. The resolution will be taken up at nine other town meetings in the next three weeks including: Montague (May 4), Hawley (May 6), Shelbourne (May 7), Colrain (May 7), Erving (May 8), Buckland (May 8), Whately (May 9), Heath (May 11) and Leyden (May 18).
Below is the full text of the resolution:
Whereas, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield is the only hospital in Franklin County, the most rural county in Massachusetts; and,
Whereas, local access to a full-service community hospital is essential to the health and well being of the residents of Franklin County; and,
Whereas, some important services previously available at Franklin Medical Center are now only available at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield; and,
Whereas, the lack of public transportation and the long distance between parts of Franklin County and Springfield presents a challenge for many residents; and,
Whereas, it is critical for the health of Franklin County residents that they have access to the broadest range of quality health care services in Franklin County,
Therefore be it resolved that the Town of Deerfield, calls upon Baystate Health System to commit all necessary resources to ensure the provision of all needed services and to commit to the long-term viability of a full-service community hospital at Baystate Franklin Medical Center which will meet the health care needs of the residents of Franklin County; and,
Be it further resolved that the Town Clerk be directed to send copies of this resolution to Mark Tolosky, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baystate Health System, and to Chuck Gijanto, President of Baystate Regional Markets.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest professional health care organization and the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public. The MNA is also a founding member of National Nurses United, the largest national nurses union in the United States with more than 170,000 members from coast to coast.
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