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San Bernardino Community Hospital

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Catholic Healthcare West came to town riding on a golden pony and convinced the San Bernardino Community Hospital Board of Directors that they should give...

...them the hospital so they could take care of the people of the community and their health care needs.

So the board bought the bait: hook, line and sinker. Many people told the board that once Catholic Healthcare West got the facility they would raid it of its resource and then close it down and leave it to the community to resolve the mess.

Remember, Community Hospital had experienced several attempts in the past for closure. Several of the physicians had told the community at large that San Bernardino was a profitable business and operated in the black. It was the location that so many non residents complained about even though few major incidences had ever occurred.

Now Catholic Healthcare West also owned another hospital in San Bernardino named St. Bernadine Medical Center and it is located on the other side of town. The word on the street (and in medical circles) is that it was hemorrhaging money but was located in the right neighborhood.

Now I don’t have any thing against the location because now we have an office just a few blocks from it and I have a home just a couple of blocks from Community Hospital. On a more personal note, thank God for Community being close because it was there my life was saved.

One time the Paramedics had to carry me there because Kaiser was too far. In addition our oldest daughter was born at St. Bernadine and our second daughter was born at, you guessed it, San Bernardino Community. For several years I served on the Community Hospital Board of Directors.

It has been brought out by several reports that Catholic West will go into poor communities and purchase a hospital and later dump it while raiding all of its profitable programs and taking them into another hospital they have close by.

In these cases they have been two hospitals in a town but five years after CHW, there is only one standing. It is my understanding that Councilman Rikke Van Johnson is going to hold a hearing with the state legislator Mervyn Dymally to investigate hospital closures by Catholic Healthcare West. We think this is a good thing.

We need to know how much money was at Community Hospital when it was given. We need to know the financial status of St. Bernadine at the time Catholic Healthcare West bought Community. We need to know what programs were transferred from Community to St. Bernadine and why. We need to look at minutes showing why Catholic Healthcare West wanted to buy Community.

We need to look at minutes showing why Community wanted the arrangement and how much money passed hands. We need to look at who made money off of the transaction and who continues to make money. Like Cuba Gooding said in the movie “Show me the money” and I will show you who wants to leave our community without healthcare services.

All of us know that healthcare costs have gone through the roof and George Bush has not repaired the hole. Now the poor will find us without a facility for easy access. That has always been a problem for the poor, having access even when payment was covered. Before Kaiser Permanente started taking low-income patients in 1970, they had proper healthcare coverage but did not have access.

They would have to travel all the way into San Bernardino County Hospital, some fifteen miles. The public transportation did not run at night and only ran in the poor community twice a day. When emergencies would happen home remedies were the norm because access to health care was closed. The Kaiser program saved lives and money because of access to health in a timely manner.

The closure of San Bernardino Community Hospital will not only have a financial impact on the community but do the same for the thousands of people living there. We must find a way to make this a win-win proposition for the community, doctors and healthcare workers who work there, the city and the patients who need care. And if it is discovered that Catholic Healthcare West has done anything unethical they should have to pay a price.

To contact Hardy Brown email: hardybrown@blackvoicenews.com or call (909) 888-5040.

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