Cost of Healthcare Too Much for Utica to Handle

Author:  Alicia

Forces/Drivers:  Hospital Merger, Brain Drain

Scenario C

Letter to the Editor

When it was announced that talks had begun for a possible merger between St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (SEMC) and Faxton St. Luke’s Healthcare (FSLHC), many people had their reservations. As a Registered Nurse at FSLHC, I myself was skeptical.

After years of talking, planning and implementation of the merger, the decision to close the St. Elizabeth’s campus still comes to a shock to most area residents. SEMC has been a landmark on Genesee St for decades and has served hundreds of thousands of people.

The reasons for closing the campus are stated as both financial and quality; financially it is just more cost effective to offer all services in one location, and the institution claims that this will provide a better quality of care to area residents.

But what about the quality of life of all the employees that will now be with out a job? FSLHC may take on some of the employees as transfers, but many will have to go out of the area to find work. The same pattern of jobs leaving and residents leaving continues. It is with great sadness that this area is losing so many jobs, many good, hard working people and a landmark in the community.

I am currently waiting to hear about the status of my own position. Though if I make it through this round of lay-offs, there is no guarantee of job security for the next few years. If I do lose my job, my family and I may be forced to leave the area. I have already begun looking for positions in Albany and Syracuse.  Even if we do manage to stay, I fear for the quality of healthcare that will be available in the community. With only one hospital, residents of the area will have no options for healthcare. So many people already seek treatment outside the area for major issues and I fear that trend will only continue to grow.

This hospital merger has brought the loss of hundreds of jobs, the closing of an iconic healthcare campus and the potential for a dramatic decrease in the quality of health services offered to our community. We are already a depressed area can we handle another blow to the economy such as this? I leaves me wondering, what is next for Utica?

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