Bradley hospital backers make presence felt at Southington council meeting

Published on Thursday, 26 July 2018 20:55
Written by BRIAN M. JOHNSON

@brianjohnsonBP

SOUTHINGTON - After the Tilcon presentation at Monday’s meeting, the Town Council approved municipal improvements and heard the concerns of the Community Committee to Save Bradley.

Town Manager Mark Sciota said the council has approved money for paving from Mill Street to the John Weichsel Municipal Center lot as well as electrical upgrades to the Town Green, an issue discussed during the Southington Chamber of Commerce’s annual downtown walkthrough.

“We want to have the electrical equipment replaced for our annual Apple Harvest Festival this fall and our White Christmas in the Community event this winter,” said Sciota.

Sciota also told the council that the town has been approved by the state for a $2.5 million grant for the revitalization of downtown Plantsville. He said that project would be going out to bid next spring and construction work, consisting of streetscape improvements, will begin that fall.

“I will also be putting funding into my next capital improvement budget for a municipal lot in downtown Plantsville,” said Sciota.

The desire for such a lot to alleviate the congestion caused by on-street parking has been a topic of conversation during the Plantsville walkthrough for years.

A public hearing has also been set for Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Center to discuss a proposed ordinance on excessive calls for police assistance.

Last year, this was a hot topic in relation to the Bridge Family Center group home on Birchcrest Drive. Several neighbors complained to the council about disruption caused by frequent calls to police from the home, which provides supervision for girls removed from their families by the Department of Children and Families.

Sciota said that if an ordinance were to be implemented to hold facilities liable for excessive calls that it would apply townwide, not just to the Bridge Family Center.

Members of the Community Committee to Save Bradley packed nearly every seat at the Municipal Center. Group founder Bonnie Sica said 100 people turned out, several of whom had to stand or sit on the floor.

Group members said they want to see emergency services and beds remain at the Bradley Campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, owned by Hartford HealthCare.

Hartford HealthCare officials have stated that no decisions regarding emergency services at Bradley have been made yet, but they have expressed concerns to the council that Bradley’s emergency department is not being heavily used and that it is not the optimal way to deliver care.

“We are drawing a line in the sand,” said Sica. “Hartford HealthCare seems pretty determined to slowly dismantle emergency services at Bradley, so at this point it would be our preference that they just sell us.”

Sica said that in the four years since her committee has formed, she has felt a “shift” in town, with people less apathetic on the issue and more supportive of the group’s cause.

Council Chairman Chris Palmieri said he reaffirmed Monday that his goal is to maintain a medical facility at Bradley. He also said he would like to see emergency services remain there.

“I have been playing phone tag with Hartford HealthCare officials to see what I do to keep these services at Bradley,” said Palmieri. “When they established their facility on Queen Street, they made a deal with the Planning and Zoning Commission that the emergency department would not be moved to that location. They would have to apply with them to change that stipulation.”

Palmieri said that by gradually reducing the number of beds at Bradley, Hartford HealthCare was creating a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”

“If they are stripping services, then, of course, patient count will go down,” he said. “There isn’t as much of a reason to go there like there was in the past.”

Gary Havican, president of The Hospital of Central Connecticut said “Hartford HealthCare is focused on continuing to bring world-class health care to the people of Southington.”

“As the town’s major employer and key service provider, we are in discussions with town leaders to make the right decisions for the community. No decision has been made regarding the Bradley campus.”

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or bjohnson@bristolpress.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, Southington Herald on Thursday, 26 July 2018 20:55. Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2018 20:57.