Emergency medical services are no longer available at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Dayton. A group of around 40 westside residents and community activists protested the ER's closure outside the hospital at lunchtime Thursday.
As crews shuttered the emergency department, members of the Community Clergy Coalition and the Black Panther Dayton Chapter groups were among those voicing outrage at the impending closure of the hospital, saying the decision will disproportionately affect Dayton neighborhoods of color.
Premier Health Partnership, which owns decades-old Good Samaritan, has said that further operation of the hospital is financially unsustainable.
West Dayton resident Linda Watkins has lived in the area for three years but says her connection to Good Sam goes back almost 80 years.
“My mom and her sisters retired from Good Sam,” she says.
Watkins says having the hospital close by provided security for people in surrounding neighborhoods.
“This is not personal, I understand that. You know, that’s what they tell us, ‘it’s not personal, it’s business,’" she says. " But it’s not good business. You have mothers and children who need care.”
David Greer is chairman of the Northwest Priority Board and a member of the clergy coalition. He says since Premier’s announcement he's talked to roughly 20 people a day to hear about their concerns.
“They are very upset, they are confused,” he says. “They’re scared because they know that health care plays a vital part of their lives and for this to be taken away from them the way it is, it creates a feeling of hopelessness.”
Since the recent announcement of Good Sam’s closing, both Five Rivers Health Center and Grandview Hospital have announced intentions to expand services for affected Dayton residents.
Greer says he doubts the expanded services will be enough to fill the health-care gap being created by Good Sam's departure.
Despite a recently announced federal investigation of the closing by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services civil rights division, Premier officials say they're moving forward with plans to end all remaining health-care services at the facility on Monday.