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News ::
Hospital leader blasts CareGroup’s decision to close Deaconess-Waltham Hospital
18 Jan 2002
Calls for stepped-up investigation by Attorney General
At a press conference on Jan. 17 attended by hundreds of employees, patients and community leaders, SEIU chief steward Margaret O’Connor called for immediate action by the state legislature and the Attorney General to save the hospital.

“Our elected officials must act now,” said O’Connor, a life long resident of Waltham and 36-year employee of the hospital. “We need a ‘Hospital Stabilization’ law that would set up an early warning system to identify financially distressed hospitals and provide emergency short-term revenue to keep our hospitals open and provide high-quality care.”

“The Attorney General should investigate mismanagement by senior CareGroup officials and look into how some hospital and physician networks may be violating anti-trust laws,” O’Connor added.

Over the next few months, SEIU Local 285 members – backed up by their union – will work with legislators, regulators, allied health care organizations and the communities that depend on its services to find a way to keep Deaconess-Waltham Hospital open.

O’Connor concluded her speech on a very personal note. “When my husband had a brain aneurysm, the emergency treatment he received here saved his life. Every minute counted. If he had to go to another, more distant hospital he would have died. That’s why we won’t allow CareGroup, or anyone else to close this hospital. It’s about the health and vitality of our community. It’s about saving lives.”

“The decision to close this hospital is proof that abandoning health care to the so-called “free market” has failed Waltham and is failing Massachusetts,” said Celia Wcislo, president of SEIU Local 285 who also attended the press conference.

Margaret O’Connor is available for press interviews. Copies of an SEIU position paper on the threat to close Deaconess-Waltham Hospital are available from SEIU Local 285
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