A Call for Action By Robert A. Beltran, M.D., M.B.A., FACMQ, CHCQM - President - Latino Med Policy Institute
Congratulations to those good men and women who spoke at the Board of Supervisors today!!!(August 16,2005). Unfortunately as many of us have experienced in the past, politics prevailed over patient care today as the board voted to move forward on the proposed closures recommended by Dr.Garthwaite.
Several messages can be understood from today’s decision by the Board of Supervisors. First and foremost is the lack of acceptance by the BOS of the health care expertise of the KDMC Hospital Advisory Board. Apparently they would rather support the wisdom of a single individual ( Dr. Garthwaite) rather than the collective wisdom of the KDMC HAB. This has made the HAB truly advisory and impotent. Window dressing and disingenuous at best.
Secondly, the BOS is apparently unwilling to recognize the community’s efforts and concerns detailed in the recently released reports by the Coalition for Health and Justice and the National Healthcare Foundation. This speaks volumes to their tunnel vision and narrow minded perspective which has created a hostile, offense and assaultive working relationship moving forward.
Lastly, the BOS is restoring KDMC through a process of elimination rather than restoration. This will not serve the needs of Blacks and Latinos in South Los Angeles much less all residents of Los Angeles County. The hospital which Dr.Garthwaite is envisioning will have no relevance to the community it is projected to serve.
The current dismantling of KDMC must be opposed decisively and firmly. This should take place by radical transformation and emergency measures to reverse the destruction of this minority academic medical institution.
All of us are familiar with the phase, “ Watch out what you wish for, because you may actually get what you want.”
This being the case regarding the BOS and the dismantling of KDMC, serious consideration of temporarily accelerating the BOS plans should be implemented.
A job action such as the “blue flu” or “sick out” may be the only way to get the BOS to truly understand the errors of their plans. Secondly a stronger partnership and visibility of the community’s voice with CMS, JCAHO, State DHS and Federal and State Legislators must be nurtured.
What weighs in the balance?
Social justice, fairness, equity and equality in health for South Los Angeles, greater Los Angeles County and the nation.
The eyes of the nation are on us as we approach the final hours of life for KDMC. Will these hours prove to be our glory or our failure?