The Atlantic reports on Lakewood Hospital & similar communities

Writing for The Atlantic, Phil Galewitz examines the trend of hospitals abandoning older neighborhoods and cities like Lakewood, in pursuit of suburban affluence. The example of Belleville, Illinois’s St. Elizabeth’s Hospital may sound eerily familiar:

Describing plans to leave behind some services, including a walk-in clinic, St. Elizabeth’s CEO Maryann Reese insists the hospital is not abandoning the city or the poor.

But that’s exactly how many residents, community leaders, and clergy see it. If St. Elizabeth’s leaves downtown, they say, it will limit care for many poorer residents, especially those dependent on public transportation, and lead to overcrowding at the city’s one other hospital, which is downsizing. Many also worry about the loss of jobs and of the visitors to the hospital who patronize local shops and eateries.

Geri Boyer, who runs a bed and breakfast and an engineering firm on Main Street, said that as a Catholic, she’s “appalled” by the hospital’s plan. “I do think they are putting profit motivations over the mission of serving the poor. I am upset and embarrassed for [them].”

“Communities can be tipped by the loss of a vital medical institution,” the Belleville police captain John Moody II wrote in a scathing letter about the plan to a state review board. “There is too much at stake and the loss will be catastrophic and I fear unrecoverable.”

Hospitals have moved to follow population migrations before, but the relocations are becoming more common.

Read the whole story at The Atlantic.