Community members express concern about Crozer Health services

UPPER DARBY—Part health clinic, part protest, a grassroots clinic was held outside the Save-A-Lot at Barclay Square Shopping Center on Saturday.

Organized by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Rights Committee of Put People First! PA, the event offered informational services while also calling for the need to keep health facilities in Crozer open, especially Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

Since the beginning of the year, Prospect Medical Holdings Inc. is cutting services or closing facilities in the Crozer health system. Many community members and state and local officials have expressed concern about the potential closure of Delaware County Memorial Hospital.

“Prospect Medical Holdings is divesting itself from our community and funneling that money directly to Wall Street,” said a Delco resident and Put People First! said AP member Jamie Bokan Blair. “We are losing jobs and access to medical care while they get richer. That’s why we’re running this grassroots clinic to connect our neighbors to essential services, benefits, and care, because we believe healthcare is a human right.

The People’s Clinic provided free blood pressure screenings, helped residents register for state benefits, and referred them to local health resources.

The Immigrant Leaders Movement of Pennsylvania (MILPA) was also present, helping to provide rental assistance primarily to members of the Spanish-speaking community.

“We’re able to talk with people about both hospital closures and hear people’s stories, hear how it affects them,” Bokan Blair said. “There’s not a single person who isn’t affected by this, whether it’s themselves, a family member, your neighbor.”

She explained that the groups are also educating aides about impending Medicaid changes.

Kathleen E.Carey

Jamie Bokan Blair of Putting People First! PA stands by a banner sharing their motivation for action at the popular clinic in Barclay Square shopping center in Upper Darby.

To continue to receive Medicaid, eligible enrollees will need to renew or return certain documents within a specified time frame and the documents will need to be processed in a timely manner.

“It’s about people not filling out a form because they don’t know they have to,” Bokan Blair said. “It’s not about changing status. It’s just a matter of paperwork.

So, the popular clinic had a lot of purpose, from the perspective of the organizers.

“We know that our health care can continue to be taken away from us, whether in Medicaid thresholds, whether in hospital closures, unless everyone has the human right to health care. “said Bokan Blair. “We can’t have profiteers instead who just make money off of us and can come and take away our services. Instead, we need it to be a community asset, to be something people really have (and) know will be there at the end of the day when they need it.

Desi Burnette of the Immigrant Leaders Movement of Pennsylvania (MILPA) said her group helps answer questions about driver’s licenses and connects people to Delaware County’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program for People threatened with eviction due to financial losses related to COVID.

“Together, we’re talking to our neighbors here in Delaware County about our rights to health care (and) talking to people about basic human rights,” Burnette said.

To join organizations, Put People First! PA can be reached at putpeoplefirstpa.org, 484-679-2306 or [email protected] And the Immigrant Leaders Movement in Pennsylvania can be reached at milpafamilia.org, [email protected] or 610-969-9474.

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