Thursday, October 1, 2009

New website

The main website of the Southside Solidarity Network is now

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CHART Protests 47th St Clinic Closure

Around 70 members of the CHART coalition - including four members of SSN - came together Tuesday (June 30th) to protest the UCMC's plan to close the women's health clinic on 47th St. Full story on the CHART site.

Monday, June 22, 2009

NoGames Goes to Switzerland

Members of the NoGames coalition were in Switzerland last week, presenting their case to the IOC that Chicago is not ready to host the 2016 Olympics. They got a brief mention on the BBC website, and according to the delegation themselves, they're the first group ever to travel to IOC headquarters to ask them NOT to host the games in their home city. They'll be hosting a reception to talk about their trip this evening at 7pm in Carmichaels, 1052 W Monroe.

While we're on the subject, this is as good a time as any to link to Ben Joravsky's excellent open letter to the IOC in the Chicago Reader. SSN supported both the NoGames campaign and the Communities for an Equitable Olympics coalition this year, and although the latter scored a significant victory in getting a memorandum of understanding with Chicago 2016 (including commitments on affordable housing and jobs) , Joravsky's piece makes an excellent case for why it would be better for everyone if the Olympics just didn't come to Chicago at all.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stories from the CHART Town Hall

To add to what Mark said in the previous post about the CHART town hall last Wednesday: some anecdotes.

1. Besides pointing out the gap between the UCMC's charity care and the tax breaks it gets for it (again, that's $48 million), Heather O'Donnell also stated that nobody is currently holding private hospitals responsible for charity care. (That means it's up to us.)

2. According to an ER physician: it is a long-standing myth that the cost of non-emergency care in the ER is great. Setting up and running an ER is very expensive, but the incremental cost of non-emergency care is not that high.

3. A UofC emeritus professor needed to see a cardiologist. He went to the UCMC, found a cardiologist, but was told he would have to wait 3 months for an appointment. But, as it turns out, the UCMC had opened up a branch on the Gold Coast--and the very same cardiologist was working over there. So he went to that clinic on the Gold Coast. No 3 month wait. When he showed up they parked his car for free, the receptionist offered him coffee, it only took him 5 minutes before the nurse came to meet him, and then, after that, just another 5 minutes for the doctor to see him--for a 40 minute visit.

4. One dude had gone to Mitchell Hospital shortly before the town hall meeting. He asked 5 nurses, in passing, if they knew about the event. 4 out of the 5 told him they wouldn't dare to talk about the rally where someone else might hear. Although I didn't write them all down, there were plenty of other stories like this last one, about threats, punishments, and just plain petty forms of manipulation, used by management to get nurses and other workers to mind their own business.

And one last thing I noticed: these issues are bigger than the UCMC itself, and all of them are connected to the brokenness of the health care system in the region and in the nation as a whole--and, sure enough, calls for single payer health care turned out to be big applause lines.

UCMC: Where did all the money go?

Over 150 students, workers, medical professionals, patients, activists, and local residents came out last week to an open town hall meeting organized by the Coalition for Healthcare Access Responsibility and Transparency (CHART), of which SSN is a member. The lively discussion included the revelation that although the UofC Medical Center receives around $58 million every year in tax breaks, it only spends $10 million on the charity care that is supposed to justify them. As Heather O'Donnell (Policy Director, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability) remarked, the UCMC's standard response - that it needs the extra money to cover its losses on Medicaid patients - is simply an attempt to muddy the water. Although it is true that hospitals take a hit on Medicaid patients, Illinois law clearly states that tax breaks are specifically intended to cover charity care only. All healthcare providers suffer from the broken Medicaid system whether they get tax breaks or not, so the UCMC cannot use Medicaid losses as an excuse for failing in its charity care obligations. To read the full CTBA report, click here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The New Grove Parc?

The first campaign that SSN was ever involved in was the campaign to save Grove Parc Plaza, the Section 8 housing development between 61st and 63rd St on Cottage Grove Avenue. After a long fight concluding in a sit-in at the offices of HUD, the tenants' association successfully lobbied for the complex to be taken over by POAH (Preservation of Affordable Housing), a non-profit based in Boston. Since then, plans have been drawn up to redevelop Grove Parc whilst preserving all of the affordable units.

In this interview with Chicago Public Radio, the architect for the new Grove Parc discusses the plans.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

U of C closes 47th St clinic

See the Trib article here.

Whatever the university says, it's hard not to see this as part of a long-term trend to diminish health care and education services for those on the south side who need them most. SSN will be working with CHART (Coalition for Healthcare Access, Responsibility, and Transparency) on a response to the closure. Watch this space.