WA: Harborview pediatrics, women’s, & family clinics to close

This memo was forwarded to us by one of our friends.

We thought we’d post the story for our community to review.


TO:   Stakeholders and Elected officials

FROM:   Diane Sosne, RN, MN, President of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW

DATE:   December 19, 2013

RE:   Closure of Harborview Clinics

Nurses and healthcare workers, members of our union, were called into a meeting with management yesterday wherein they were notified that Harborview intends to close its pediatrics, women’s, and family medicine clinics July 1.  Each of these clinics is located downtown or on the Harborview campus and serves primarily women and children who are low-income, people of color, immigrants, or uninsured.

Management was unsure whether the adult medicine clinic would close as well.  We wanted to alert you because of the impact this could have on our vulnerable populations.

The hospital did not put anything in writing and reporters are telling us that Harborview is refusing to answer questions about this.

Harborview has a mission to provide care for everyone in our community.  Closing these clinics neglects this mission and leaves women, children, and families without needed care.

At a time when our community will need more access to clinics because of increased insured populations under the Affordable Care Act, closing clinics makes no sense.  In today’s meeting Harborview claimed that they need to move care closer to patients’ neighborhoods, yet management said they have no plans to replace these clinics so far.  We know the footprint of the current UW Health clinics excludes most low income, people of color, and immigrant areas and has no clinic locations in the south end of Seattle.

Furthermore, by shifting care away from Harborview and to the UW Neighborhood Clinic network, the hospital is eliminating union jobs with state healthcare benefits.  If the closing clinics were replaced, their UW Neighborhood Clinic replacements would not be union workers presently.

We are continuing to collect information from the dedicated nurses and healthcare workers delivering care on the front-lines of Harborview Medical Center who are deeply concerned about the patients they serve being denied access in as soon as 6 months.

We wanted to alert you to these new developments and look forward to working with you to ensure everyone has access to quality, affordable care.