Sunday, October 21, 2007

Medical care for profit means NO care


Last spring, ads like the one above were all over bus shelters on the east side of San Francisco. Yesterday, California Pacific Medical Center/Sutter Health announced that the campaign was the sham that many have long feared. Sutter is pulling the plug on the cash draining business of caring for poor people at St. Luke's Hospital in the Mission.

St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco's Mission District will no longer be an acute-care facility after 2009, but become an outpatient "hub," providing emergency care and services that don't require a hospital stay, according to a plan announced Friday by California Pacific Medical Center.

The city knows screwed when it hears it.

"This is not the right thing for the health of San Francisco," said Dr. Mitch Katz, head of the city's Public Health Department.

Katz argued that the plan leaves one acute-care facility - the public San Francisco General Hospital - in the South of Market region, while it concentrates eight hospitals in the northern, generally more affluent parts of the city. He also didn't think providing the St. Luke's neighborhood with emergency services - but not a hospital to back up that care - made sense.

"It isn't optimum care," Katz said. "If you had something serious, would you want to go to a hospital where, if it turned out you had something serious, they couldn't take care of you?"

As long as providing life and death services is treated by our society as a license to coin money, people without money will, literally, be treated as unworthy to live.

How long?

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