Coalition calls community meeting on Carney

A growing coalition of healthcare leaders, Caritas Carney Hospital employees, elected officials and others have called a community-wide meeting to gather ideas and voices to aid the hospital's survival.

"This meeting is for us to take the message much more public, inviting civic groups, the public, Carney employees and elected officials," said Dan Driscoll, CEO of Harbor Health Services. "Closing Carney is a bad idea from an economic point of view, a pubic health point of view and a physician retaining point of view."

The Carney is home to 36 primary care providers, hosts over 35,000 emergency room visits a year and more than 43,000 bed-days, said Driscoll.

The Carney stumbled late last year with a $1.9 million loss in the third quarter of 2007 and has since implemented some initiatives to cut costs and raise patient volume, including the layoffs of 50 workers in April. A report issued from Attorney General Martha Coakley's office in March suggested Caritas Christi Healthcare "consider" changing the acute care focus of the Carney to one of behavioral health, an idea that met with widespread criticism in Dorchester circles. Now, all involved are awaiting recommendations Huron Consulting Group's Wellspring Partners, hired by Caritas Christi to assess the system in January.

The meeting will take place at the Sheet Metal Workers Hall at 1181 Adams St., on Thursday, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. It is sponsored by the Coalition to Strengthen Carney Hospital. For more information call Michael Christopher in state Rep. Marty Walsh's office: 617-722-2090.