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Community Busted For Attending Community Meeting

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Believe it or not, Ann Arbor has a Community Hospital (or so we are told). Ideally, community hospitals should be communityworker controlled and responsive to the needs of the community that they. are serving. There are a few problems with the community hospital located in Ann Arbor. First of all, it is named St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and it is owned and operated by the Catholic Church. Of the members of the Board of Trustees (the controlling board of St. Joe's and 6 othei Catholic hospitals) only two live in Washtenaw County, and all the members are nuns. Internally, the top administrator of St. Joe's is a nun and all the appointed assistant administrators who aren't nuns are white males. For many reasons (one of them perhaps being that they knew it would have to have community support, financially and otherwise -to expand or move its facilities) St. Joe's Hospital decided to créate a mechanism whereby "community input" could be gathered by the administrators of the hospital. So, a "Community Advisory Board " was set up by the hospital. The hospital selected nine "representatives" of the Washtenaw County community, and these nine people then selected seven more "community people" to sit on this board whose function is supposedly to advise the administration (of St. Joe's) of the needs of the community and how the hospital can best be responsive to them. Well, it may sound fine on paper as a start in the direction of communityworker control-except for a few details. First, here are the people who sit on this "Advisory Board": Robert P. LaughnaC?ef Executive Of f eer, Highway Transportation Group of American Commercial Lines, Inc., Romulus, Mi. Howard S. HolmesVescfe7f of Chelsea Milling Co. (produces Jiffy Mix), a director of Ann Arbor Trust. ..a big "local banker". Nelson Deioró-Manager of J.C. Penny's, "very active businessman". Was general chairman several years ago for the campaign that raised $600,000-700,000 for the expansión of the YMCA facilities. (ed. note:.... wonder why they picked him for the Community Advisory Board??? What's this I hear about St. Joe's trying to raise $5 million for expansión of St. Joe's facilities???) Harold Sponberg-President, Eastern Michigan University Robert Asehon-President of University Microfilm Ann Edwards--tfe woman on this board (token??!), calis herself a "homemaker", catholic, her husband is Joseph Edwards, the very conservative Republican now serving on City Council. Jerry Gooó'ing-Vicepresident of Whittaker and Gooding (Trucking Co.), Chairman of the Board of the National Bank of Ypsilanti John Barfield -re black on this board (token??). President of Barfield Cleaning Co., a subsidiary of ITT (!) Robben Femng-President of University of Michigan Robert Johnsonof C.P.A firm leerman, Johnson & Hoffman--"Ann Arbor's number one Accounting firm" Paul Zmmerman--President of Concordia Luther-.n Coltege, Vice-president and director of Huron Valley National Bank Gage Cooper-(former?) manager of Detroit Edison in Ann Arbor Peter Forsythe--67Vmfy of Michigan attorney, "big Republican " Keeve M. Siege-founder and chairman of KMS Industries (Keeve M. Siegel)-war research, anyone???...many millions of dollars involved with this man and with this corporation Arthur GaWagher-resigned from this Advisory Board, Editor of the Ann Arbor News. It s obvious that these people are not at all representative of the community that uses St. Joe's hospital and would have a difficult time indeed of representing the needs of the medically indigent community of Washtenaw County. One wonders, then, why they are on this "Community Advisory Board"--could it have anything to do with raising $5 million for St. Joe's??? Anyway, the Ann Arbor chapter of MCHR (that's Medical Committee for Human Rights--a national organization of radical health workers and consumers) became aware of all these discrepancies and contradictions involving St. Joe's Hospital, and decided to send a contingent of Ann Arbor community people and MCHR representatives to the next meeting of this "Community Advisory Board". So, Monday, March 20th at 4 p.m. a group of us went to the "Board Room" in the "Administrative Wing" of the hospital to raise the following issues with the Board: "In order for St. Joseph Mercy al to adequately meet the needs of the community it serves we must demand that: 1. The hospital be under the control of a community-worker board selected by and f rom the total community in an open democratie election. 2. The present Community Advisory Board be disbanded because it is grossly unrepresentative of the community. 3. There be f uil access to all financial and technical information. 4. There be f uil dissemination and expíanation of patients' rights in all services of the hospital. 5. The hospital institute comprehensive and preventative medical services including planned parenthood, all of which should be readily available to the whole community. " We never got to raise those issues. We were met at the door of the board room by Sister Mary Yvonne (top administrator of St. Joe's) who asked us if we had been invited to the meeting by the President of the Community Advisory Board, and if not we would have to wait in the lobby of the hospital until the President of the Board arrived We replied that we were under the impression that the meeting to take place was of the Community Advisory Board, and that we were, in fact, the community and we were here to discuss with the members of the "Board" some very vital issues raised by members of the Washtenaw County community that we feit were not receiving adequate attention by St. Joseph Mercy Hospital or the Community Advisory Board. Sister Mary Yvonne left the room and we took seats at the large table along with a handful of members from the Communty Advisory Board. Photographers from the SUN and DAILY began taking pictures, but were told by the administration of St. Joe's that, "This is private property" and that photographs were forbidden. Annie Edwards of the "Board" asked us all for our names, which we gave. Sister Yvonne returned and signaled the member s of the Adivsory Board to leave the Board room and follow her. As they left, Annie Edwards told us, "I think you all are VERY rudeü!" As soon as they exited, the St. Joe's Security Guards appeared on the scène. Ted Podewill, Chief of Security, told us we would all have to leave the hospital or they would have to cali the pólice. The community comes to a community meeting and the hospital threatens to cali the pigs! Dig it? Dig t! We had a two minute caucus at which we decided our analysis at this point showed we were not ready to go to jail (yet) for this. We wrote up a short statement saying we would, in fact, attend the next Community Advisory Board meeting (held the third Monday of every month) and expected to at that time discuss many of the problems facing the community and also discuss a way of getting an Advisory Board or controlling board that would more nearly reflect the population served by St. Joe's Hospital. We were then ushered out of the hospital via a side exit.