Great article in the Fiscal Times about the challenges community hospitals face as they struggle to serve their communities and maintain their independence in difficult economic times:
QUINCY, Mass. — When Claire Contos needed colon-cancer surgery recently, she could have gone to a top teaching hospital in Boston, 13 miles north of here. Instead, she chose the Quincy Medical Center.
“There’s a lot of compassion and understanding here,” says Contos, 83, who has lived in Quincy for 64 years. “I’d never have that same feeling” in Boston. Her surgeon was Dr. Thomas Fitzgerald, the son of a Quincy nurse and doctor she had known for years. “He’s devoted to his patients,” she says. “I can call him anytime, day or night.”
Contos’ affection for her local hospital, which was built 120 years ago to serve local shipbuilders and workers in nearby granite quarries, is echoed by many of Quincy’s 90,000 residents. But now, there are serious questions about whether the medical center can maintain its independence from corporate ownership or, over the long run, survive.
To staunch the red ink, the medical center laid off 14 nurses
and technicians and brought in a hospital turnaround specialist.