Connect with us

Community

OP-ED: Who killed Doctor’s Medical Center?

Published

on

By Jovanka Beckles

 

A quarter of a million people in Richmond and West Contra Costa County, a majority people of color community, will be without a community hospital as a result of a recent decision to phase down and finally close the doors of Doctors Medical Center (DMC) in San Pablo by April 21.

 

 

To not provide a full service hospital in West Contra Costa County is an example of environmental and institutional racism as experienced by predominantly poor people of color.

 

In large part due to the location of Chevron and other industries, West Contra Costa County has higher rates of cancer and asthma. These industries also pose a regular risk of explosion and release of dangerous chemicals.

 

There should be a hospital nearby in case of an industrial accident, but the largest and most profitable industry, the Chevron Corp., refused to contribute to keep DMC open.

 

The remaining hospital in the area, Kaiser Richmond, does not serve indigent patients, has an emergency room too small to handle the volume of the area, and does not have the capability to handle strokes and heart attacks.

 

The DMC emergency room closed to emergency services months ago. For most of the residents of Richmond, San Pablo and surrounding areas, emergency care is between 15 and 20 miles away over clogged freeways.

 

Already it appears that two or three people have died because they could not receive emergency care quickly enough.

 

But it’s not just an issue of emergency care. A community needs a hospital just as it needs its parks, police, libraries, schools and public transit.

 

When people require treatment in a hospital, it is important that their parents, children and other members of the family and friends be able to visit.

 

It is simply part of good medical care. People who need regular treatments, whether it’s for cancer or kidney problems, need a hospital that is convenient.

 

The long travel distances to a hospital place an extra burden on poor people.

 

There is very little chance that last-ditch efforts will save the hospital. One can only hope.

 

So who killed DMC?

 

First is our broken health care system. The problem with DMC was not how it was run. Whatever problems its management had, it provided service at lower cost than surrounding hospitals.

 

The problem was “its patient mix” – DMC treated “too many” low income or indigent patients.

 

The problem with DMC was not how it was run. Whatever problems its management had, it provided service at lower cost than surrounding hospitals. The problem was “its patient mix” – DMC treated “too many” low income or indigent patients.

 

Payments from Medicare and Medical were too low to cover costs. DMC lost money on every one of these patients.

 

Simply put, DMC failed because it provided medical care to people who are already underserved. As a result, DMC had to be subsidized.

 

The county refused to do it. The state government refused to reclassify DMC so it could receive a special subsidy for caring for “target” patients, and came up with a paltry $3 million.

 

Obamacare meant the hospital would benefit community members, but provide more services at a loss to DMC.

 

Many community members tried to save Doctor’s Medical Center. As a result of pressure from the community, the Richmond Progressive Alliance and the California Nurses Association, the Richmond City Council was pressured to allocate $15 million to support DMC.

 

Unfortunately, government leaders from other parts of the area turned their heads.

 

San Pablo contributed nothing more than to broker a deal to transfer land to the local casino. Neighboring cities Hercules, Pinole and El Cerrito were silent.

 

A majority of the county supervisors based in the East County would not help.

 

The Contra Costa Times ran a campaign for the closing.

 

Other hospitals in the region should have contributed. While they are called “non-profit,” Kaiser, Sutter and other hospitals are enormously profitable and have ways to transfer money to management.

 

They save a lot of money because of their “non-profit” status.

The existence of DMC actually saves them money by absorbing some of the indigent population they would otherwise have to treat. Yet they refused to join in the plan to keep DMC open.

 

There are a lot of institutions and individuals to blame for closing DMC, but in the end the main problem was that there were not enough political leaders willing to organize a campaign to force these institutions to save DMC.

 

This scenario is a case of classic institutional racism. Areas where people of color live are underserved supposedly not because of race, but because we are not wealthy and powerful

 

In the end the main problem was that there were not enough political leaders willing to organize a campaign to force these institutions to save DMC. This scenario is a case of classic institutional racism.

 

We have to figure out as a community how to get the medical care we need, we deserve and is our right.

 

Jovanka Beckles is a member of the Richmond City Council.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activism

Ask County Supervisors Not to Spend Millions in Tax Dollars on Oakland A’s Real Estate Deal

Please attend the meeting Tuesday, October 26 and express your opinion; call or e-mail your supervisor and Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, through his chief of staff Amy Shrago at (510) 272-6685 or Amy.Shrago@acgov.org

Published

on

A rendering of the proposed new A’s ballpark at the Howard Terminal site, surrounded by port cranes and warehouses. Image courtesy of MANICA Architecture.

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA) and other groups are asking local residents to attend and speak at next week’s Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting to oppose a proposal to spend county residents’ tax dollars to pay for the Oakland A’s massive multi-billion-dollar real estate deal at Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland. 

Please attend the meeting Tuesday, October 26 and express your opinion; call or e-mail your supervisor and Keith Carson, president of the Board of Supervisors, through his chief of staff Amy Shrago at (510) 272-6685 or Amy.Shrago@acgov.org

The Stadium Alliance urges community members to “let (the supervisors) know that Alameda County residents don’t want our tax dollars to pay for a private luxury development. This proposal does not include privately funded community benefits and would harm our region’s economic engine – the port- putting tens of thousands of good-paying jobs at risk.”

 

“The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.”

Continue Reading

Community

Marin County Sheriff Sued for Illegally Sharing Drivers’ License Plate Data

This practice has violated two California laws, endangers the safety and privacy of local immigrant communities, and facilitates location tracking by police.

Published

on

An example of ALPRs (www.pasadenanow.org)

Marin County Sheriff Robert Doyle has been sued for illegally sharing millions of local drivers’ license plates and location data, captured by a network of cameras his office uses, with hundreds of federal and out-of-state agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), over a dozen other federal law enforcement agencies, and more than 400 out-of-state law enforcement agencies.

This practice has violated two California laws, endangers the safety and privacy of local immigrant communities, and facilitates location tracking by police.

The suit seeks to end the sheriff’s illegal practice of giving hundreds of agencies outside California access to a database of license plate scans used to identify and track people, revealing where they live and work, when they visit friends or drop their kids at school, and when they attend religious services or protests.

The lawsuit was filed in Marin County Superior Court by the ACLU Foundations of Northern California, Southern California, and San Diego and Imperial Counties, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and attorney Michael T. Risher representing community activists Lisa Bennett, Cesar S. Lagleva, and Tara Evans, who are longtime Marin community members.

License plate scans occur through Automated License Plate Readers (ALPRs): high-speed cameras mounted in a fixed location or atop police cars moving through the community that automatically capture all license plates that come into view, recording the exact location, date, and time that the vehicle passes by.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office scans tens of thousands of license plates each month with its ALPR system. That sensitive personal information, which includes photographs of the vehicle and sometimes its driver and passengers, is stored in a database.

The sheriff permits hundreds of out-of-state agencies and several federal entities, including the Department of Homeland Security, to run queries of a license plate against information the sheriff has collected. The agencies are also able to compare their own bulk lists of vehicle license plates of interest, known as “hot lists,” against the ALPR information collected by the sheriff’s office. 

“In the hands of police, the use of ALPR technology is a threat to privacy and civil liberties, especially for immigrants. Federal immigration agencies routinely access and use ALPR information to locate, detain, and deport immigrants. The sheriff’s own records show that Sheriff Doyle is sharing ALPR information with two of the most rogue agencies in the federal government: ICE and CBP,” said Vasudha Talla, immigrants’ rights program director at the ACLU Foundation of Northern California. “Police should not be purchasing surveillance technology, let alone facilitating the deportation and incarceration of our immigrant communities.”

California’s S.B. 34, enacted in 2015, bars this practice. The law requires agencies that use ALPR technology to implement policies to protect privacy and civil liberties, and specifically prohibits police from sharing ALPR data with entities outside of California. 

The sheriff also violates the California Values Act (S.B. 54), also known as California’s “sanctuary” law. Enacted in 2018, the law limits the use of local resources to assist federal immigration enforcement.

“The information unveiled through this lawsuit shows that the freedoms that people think they possess in Marin County are a mirage: people cannot move about freely without being surveilled,” said Bennett. “Our county sheriff, who has sworn to uphold the law, is in fact violating it by sharing peoples’ private information with outside agencies. This has especially alarming implications for immigrants and people of color: two communities that are traditionally the targets of excessive policing, surveillance, and separation from loved ones and community through incarceration or deportation.”

The Marin County Post’s coverage of local news in Marin County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

Continue Reading

Community

The 157th Session of the AME Church’s California Annual Conference: Not Just Business as Usual

For the 157th time in history, the African Methodist Episcopal Church in California met to report at the call of their bishop, the Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, which, for the first time was held both on-line and in person from Bethel AME Church at 916 Laguna St. in San Francisco. 

Published

on

Bishop Clement W. Fugh, Presiding Prelate of the 5th Episcopal District, ready for the 157th Session of the California Annual Conference

For the 157th time in history, the African Methodist Episcopal Church in California met to report at the call of their bishop, the Right Reverend Clement W. Fugh, which, for the first time was held both on-line and in person from Bethel AME Church at 916 Laguna St. in San Francisco. 

The renowned presiding elders, Rev. Dr. Harold R. Mayberry and Rev. Dr. Vernon S. Burroughs, middle managers of this portion of Bishop Fugh’s charge, shared the accounts of their respective territories at the AME Church’s California Annual Conference via prerecorded videos at the meeting hosted by Churches of the Sacramento Valley. 

The lead congregation from the valley was Murph-Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in North Highlands, CA, which is pastored by Rev. Dr. Carieta Cain Grizzell, whose spouse Rev. Martin Grizzell is also known for his past ministry in the Bay Area. The venue church is served by the pastoral team of Rev. Robert R. Shaw and his partner, Assistant Pastor, Rev. Ann Champion Shaw. Murph-Emmanuel and Bethel A.M.E. Church were acclaimed by Bishop Fugh for their cooperation in this session of the California Annual Conference.  

Bethel A.M.E San Francisco looked like a television set had grown into the sanctuary, complete with multiple lights and cameras. There was a technical team (in person and on-line) primarily made up of young adult members of AME churches under the purview of the bishop. The meeting was a clear, joint effort of both clergy and lay people, more than in past years. Though the California Annual Conference has long made a point of including non-cleric church members, young and old, the COVID-19 pandemic circumstances have clearly advanced the Conference’s inclusivity.  

“The Word of God is Colorblind,” said Bishop Fugh during the retirement portion of the Annual Conference which honored the retirement of the host pastor. The diversity within churches of the California Annual Conference was on display at this 157th session of this historic meeting and it was clear that the leadership encourages the welcoming of all who would like to join with the church. 

There was an apparent focus on meeting safely, with limitations on those allowed to join in person. Attestations related to COVID-19 were required of registrants and a screening process was administered at the venue. The bishop commended the venue leadership and church for the dignity that was maintained during the process. 

Registration for Zoom attendance was also a painless process and open to whomever desired to attend the Webinar. The conference was accessible on Facebook as well as YouTube. The bishop also encouraged churches to make attendance as safe as possible while keeping the process simple and focusing on a quality worship experience. Bishop Fugh set a goal for represented churches to reopen their sanctuaries by the first Sunday of November. 

This session of the California Annual Conference carried with it the long-standing traditions of the first Christian denomination founded in response to social injustice over 200 years ago. The ministries reported primarily using pre-recorded videos this year as it all followed through decently and in order. Indeed, there was a genuine spirit of love during the conference.

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending