Wednesday, August 02, 2000

Hospital closing causes concern

Dayton, civil rights leaders meet

The Associated Press

        DAYTON, Ohio — Civil-rights leaders who worried the closing of Franciscan Medical Center will disrupt care for the poor met with city and county officials Thursday to discuss options.

        The meeting included City Manager Valerie Lemmie, Montgomery County Administrator Deborah Feldman and representatives of the local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Urban League.

        The 122-year-old Franciscan, located in a low-income neighborhood with many black residents, plans to close by mid-September for financial reasons. The closing will put 1,552 Franciscan employees out of work and force patients to find other hospitals.

        Franciscan has a reputation of caring for patients who cannot afford to pay. Last year, the hospital provided $7 million in uncompensated care.

        Jessie Gooding, head of the Dayton chapter of the NAACP, said he has received numerous calls from constituents who are “frightened at the fact that service might be interrupted.”

        Ms. Lemmie said the city and county are working with hospital officials and business leaders to ensure that the same level and quality of care is provided as conveniently as possible.


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