Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/javon-bea-stop-the-slow-closure-of-mercyhealth-javon-bea-hospital-rockton-avenue
Update: After we posted this, Mercy Health Vice President Tom Jensen said:
An Open Letter to Rockford from Very Concerned and Frustrated Mercyhealth ER Personnel
Emergency Medicine is a very broad but special kind of medicine. As doctors, nurses, and ER personnel, we feel a unique calling to serve people in this very vulnerable and unpredictable environment. We pledge to protect and serve our patients and their families with the utmost respect and dignity that each person deserves. We are called to an area of healthcare that requires selflessness and compassion like no other. Those of us that have chosen to serve in the emergency setting, have done so out of a deep love and understanding of the patients we serve. That is why when we heard the news that the emergency department and inpatient services were essentially closing at Javon Bea Hospital Rockton Ave Campus, most of us were dismayed, disappointed, and disillusioned, but most of all we were angered, saddened and felt a great deal of anxiety over our own careers and futures. We were not only concerned for the patient population we serve, but also for our own financial situations, as many of us are single parents and/or the lone household earners for our families. In these unprecedented times, during a global pandemic and the worst public healthcare crisis in a century, one would think that essentially closing down an emergency department and inpatient services in a mostly low-income area of the city, would be the last thing anybody would do, but that is exactly what will happen if this decision is not reversed.
Rockford Memorial Hospital was established on Rockton Ave in 1954. Since then, it has served hundreds of thousands of people in Winnebago County and the surrounding areas. It has been a staple of this city since its inception in 1855 when it was originally established in downtown Rockford, IL. Rockford Memorial Hospital merged with Mercyhealth in 2015 and was taken over by president and CEO, Javon R. Bea.
As a Rockford native, Mr. Bea likes to tout that he grew up in a low-income household on the west side of Rockford and made a life for himself, achieving his goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur. A heartfelt story, really. If only he had kept his humble beginnings a part of himself, but as often happens, success has a way of making people forget where they came from, after all, the almighty dollar rules all. He originally promised the city of Rockford and it’s residents that he would maintain the Rockton Ave Campus open, even with the construction of a new hospital on Rockford’s east side on Riverside Boulevard. All along, he assured us that he had Rockford’s residents best interest at heart. That he would not take away services from the west side of Rockford, but as time passed it became clear what his intentions were.
Then came 2020, and with it a deadly global pandemic that disproportionately affects people of color. Ironic that Mr. Bea would want to severely cut down emergency room and inpatient services in an underserved area of the city that desperately needs these services, especially during a pandemic where the death toll is quickly approaching 186,000 in our nation alone. It is unfathomable and reprehensible that he would limit healthcare services to this particular patient population where there will inevitably be deaths that could have otherwise been prevented had a fully functioning ER and hospital been in place, but it’s not just the west side of Rockford that would be negatively impacted. It would also negatively impact the towns and communities to the west, north, and south. It would impact the entire Stateline area. We believe this is immoral and we one hundred percent condemn the reckless decision made by Mr. Bea and the hospital board members that are complicit in this decision, including representative Dave Syverson, that will inevitably result in the senseless loss of life and/or avoidable permanent disability.
During a time when we should be expanding healthcare services, not cutting them, eliminating the Javon Bea Rockton Ave ER and inpatient services will bring so much unnecessary pain to our community. We simply do not understand how eliminating inpatient psychiatric and pediatric intensive care services, and grossly limiting ER and inpatient services to the west side campus, renders positive results for community members. In fact, it does the opposite. Parents in Winnebago county now have to drive long distances to Madison, Chicago or other cities should their child need intensive care. Many times, parents do not have the resources needed to make long distance trips. Our homeless and psychiatric populations are also very vulnerable and continue to be disenfranchised by this CEO. They too have to be placed in facilities that are distant from Rockford.
Many times SwedishAmerican is not able to admit our psychiatric patients to their inpatient unit due to being at capacity. The end result is transferring patients to far off facilities or simply sending them back out to the streets. Mr. Bea states that there was no need for our inpatient psychiatric unit due to low census, but the reality is that we know what motivates Mr. Bea, and that is money. These patients often do not have insurance and if they do, they are likely to have state aid insurance. Not a money maker for Mr. Bea, therefore, he eliminates it. This is not okay. This is immoral. What he is doing to the Rockton Ave Campus is borderline criminal.
How city leaders and residents are permitting this to happen to their community is beyond comprehension. We call on Mayor Tom McNamara, city leaders, residents, and community members to stand up and fight back. We will not let a multimillionaire come into a community he claims to care about, and take our much needed healthcare services away from us, simply because it does not fit his agenda. We urge Rockford to stand up and speak up. We urge you to demand that the hospital ER services remain as they are and that patients be admitted based on their healthcare needs and not based on their insurance or lack thereof. We urge the residents of this city and of this community to not take “no” for an answer. This is your community. This is your city. Do not let the people with power and money take away life-saving services from you.
Very Concerned and Frustrated ER Personnel
Since the original writing of this statement, Mr. Bea held a “partner forum” with Mercyhealth employees on 9/2/2020 with little to no anticipation. The ER physicians were not even aware that there was a forum happening, until it was. During the forum, Mr. Bea spoke many untruths. He then attended a hearing in Rockford on 9/3/2020 where he repeated many of the lies from the day before. Mr. Bea refuses to accept responsibility for his reckless actions and is instead placing blame on other individuals and leadership for “misconceptions” and “misinformation”, when all leadership was doing was relaying information to staff that came straight from the top. That information did include Mr. Bea saying that the Rockton Ave ER would be a standby ER, rendering it essentially useless as a true emergency department. That information also included the elimination of inpatient beds. He is now saying that these things were never the case, and blamed leadership for spreading “misinformation”, but that is not how we understood it to be.
He states that Mayor Tom McNamara is essentially in bed with Swedish American and that he is suing the mayor and his administration. He claims that he has lost money ever since coming to Rockford and that his salary could never make up for lost revenue. The only thing is, Mr. Bea knew what he was getting when he decided to merge with Rockford Memorial Hospital (RMH) in 2015. He knew that RMH was the second highest healthcare system, outside of Cook County, to take medicaid patients in the state of Illinois. For him to now claim that he needs to cut services due to not getting paid by the state of Illinois in a timely fashion, is a poor excuse. Either Mr. Bea did not properly vet the healthcare system he was merging with prior to merging, or he knew what he was doing all along, and this was his end-all.
There are two other healthcare systems in the City of Rockford. They too have been impacted by COVID-19. Neither one has closed down services because of the pandemic. At this point, he is taking advantage of a situation that has impacted us all, all to benefit himself. He has forever lost the trust of Rockfordians and no one will ever believe anything he says again. He is not a man of his word. He has lost all credibility and cannot be trusted to do the right thing. At this point, Mr. Bea cannot undo or repair the damage he has caused, and therefore, we believe that it would be in Rockford’s best interest for Mr. Bea to sell Mercyhealth Rockford to another healthcare system that is competent and actually cares about the patients they serve.
If you haven’t already – help out our brave Mercyhealth ER staff and sign Have Mercy’s petition to stop what we all know they’re trying to do.
Petition · Stop the slow-closure of Mercyhealth Javon Bea Hospital-Rockton Avenue
View the letter at Click Here
Source: https://www.facebook.com/HaveMercyRKfd/ & https://www.change.org/p/javon-bea-stop-the-slow-closure-of-mercyhealth-javon-bea-hospital-rockton-avenue
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