SOUTHINGTON - The Southington Town Council got an earful from the Community Committee to Save Bradley at Monday’s meeting and city leaders affirmed their support for emergency services remaining at the hospital.
Members of the Community Committee to Save Bradley, a group founded in 2014, attended the meeting and a handful of them spoke during the public comment portion.
Bonnie Sica, spokesperson for the committee has been accusing Hartford HealthCare for several years of trying to gut services at their Bradley Memorial Campus and moving it to their Family Center on Queen Street. She said that a recent letter sent out to Bradley staff by Gary Havican, president of the Hospital of Central Connecticut and Senior Vice President of Hartford HealthCare makes that intention clear.
The following are excerpts from that letter:
“It’s becoming increasingly apparent that investing in maintaining the current services at the Bradley campus is not consistent with the best medical practices and providing world-class healthcare in Southington,” said Havican. “I’ve expressed sincere desire to work with town leaders to see whether there might be other uses for the campus that would be more suitable.”
However, Havican also stressed that Bradley campus operation is running at “status quo.”
“No decision has been made as to Bradley’s future – and no decision will be made without further discussions with key stakeholders and without pursuing appropriate approvals,” said Havican. “Hartford HealthCare will respect the local process and our long-term partnership with the town. I am proud to say that Hartford HealthCare has kept its word to the people of Southington. For...years, we have kept Bradley open - even as the number of inpatients had declines to only four a day.”
“Hartford Healthcare has once again started strategizing to dismantle and destroy Bradley Hospital,” said Sica. “I have heard many times that we must negotiate with HHC to get what we can while we can. That is negotiating from a position of weakness and Southington is not weak, we are strong. Let’s negotiate to keep our hospital right where it is and get HHC to market and promote it rather than dismantle it slowly. Even though they try to destroy the hospital it still turns a small profit and they just can’t understand that. A corporation will never understand the heart and soul of Southington.”
A spokesperson for Hartford HealthCare responded to Sica’s statements Tuesday.
“We have for the past few years kept our word and done everything we said we’d do,” said Shawn Mawhiney, a spokesperson for Hartford HealthCare. “But healthcare is rapidly changing and so we have been talking with town leaders about that. We continue to work to create the most coordinated care we can. Southington is very important to us so we want to do the best we can to create something that everyone can support.”
Town Manager Mark Sciota said that the council spoke in unison and showed their support for emergency services remaining at Bradley.
“Council Chair Palmieri re-assured the committee that he had spoken with Hartford HealthCare and that the town expected these services to remain at the hospital,” said Sciota. “When the Family Center on Queen Street was approved, it was with a stipulation that they can’t have emergency services there. The Community Committee to Save Bradley was instrumental in pushing for that stipulation with the Planning and Zoning Commission.”
Additionally at Monday’s meeting, the council honored the local robotics team, The CyberKnights, for once again winning the New England Championships and finishing third in the world.
Sciota said that the town has also narrowed down its search for the next fire chief. However, they will not disclose the name of the selection at this time. The decision is expected to be announced next week during a special meeting of the Board of Fire Commissioners.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.