Making a difference to one’s community: Save Sharon Hospital
The Lakeville Journal Co. Editorial
When a controversy erupts in any area, there are often groups formed that react to it with alternative solutions or simple opposition. They operate with varying degrees of effectiveness. Those affected by such open discussion in a community can only hope that out of engagement might come a better outcome. After all, having more minds and hearts set to a problem should result in a wider range of options available for final resolution.
The ongoing discussion around the decisions being made at Nuvance for Sharon Hospital’s proposed closing of Labor and Delivery and converting its Intensive Care Unit to a Progressive Care Unit has been made more nuanced and complete by the group Save Sharon Hospital (SSH). There have been multiple community meetings run by SSH in the towns served by Sharon Hospital in both northwest Connecticut and eastern Dutchess County, N.Y., where physicians, and community leaders and members have put forward the issues that are of such importance to all who live here.
Those meetings brought a much broader awareness of the proposed changes at Sharon Hospital to all the towns covered by it, and that is proven by more than 300 people attending the rally on Sunday, Oct. 16, in Sharon to have their voices heard on the issues. Giving the rally an even higher profile were state leaders from both New York and Connecticut, including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-5), Conn., state Rep. Maria Horn (D-64), and chair of Dutchess County, N.Y., Legislature Gregg Pulver. (See the front page story Oct. 20 by Leila Hawken and Patrick Sullivan.)
Nuvance and Sharon Hospital’s administration and board of directors need to take notice of the strong opinions being expressed at the meetings, the rally, and to the more than 50 testimonials sent to the Connecticut state Office of Health Strategy to comment on Nuvance’s planned changes. The sense at the rally was that “putting profits before patients,” as Blumenthal and others referenced, would only diminish the standing of Nuvance, and the credibility of its patient care within the community.
So this group, Save Sharon Hospital, in this situation has truly made a difference in the way this controversy is being seen by those served by the hospital, and those in power in the states it covers. This is the moment when those in charge at Nuvance and Sharon Hospital should give credence to the arguments being made against their proposed changes and directly negotiate with the Save Sharon Hospital activists. Thanks to them for being persistent in a tough situation.
Now, we can only hope for a better outcome if all can cooperate to come to a better solution for medical care available in Sharon.