Rev. Rockney Carter, of Zion Baptist Church, speaks at the podium with a group of West Dayton pastors urging a boycott of two forums about the future redevelopment of the Good Samaritan Hospital site. KAITLIN SCHROEDER/STAFF

West Dayton pastors urge boycott of Good Sam forums

A group of West Dayton pastors urged residents not to attend forums Thursday about the closing of Good Samaritan Hospital, saying there’s not been indication that their feedback will be meaningfully considered.

The Rev. Rockney Carter, speaking Wednesday from Zion Baptist Church in Dayton, said it’s deceptive that Premier Health leaders have said they had to shut down Good Samaritan when at the same time the health system is investing in a suburban expansion.

“I think what they’ll continue to do tomorrow (Thursday) is continue to misrepresent the facts, continue to distort to our community and continue to mislead our people,” Carter said.

RELATED: Five Rivers Health Center on Good Sam campus says it’s here to stay

Dayton-based Premier, which operates four local hospitals, announced in January that it would close down Good Samaritan sometime this year and offer jobs at other locations to the 1,600 main campus employees.

The hospital will be razed into a shovel-ready site and Premier is holding two forums about the future of the site Thursday.

Premier said in a statement that it has had multiple meetings with community leaders to get input and the input from the forums today will be carefully considered. The health system stated it will continue to work with the city and CityWide Development to invest in the neighborhoods.

“Together the partners (Premier Health, City of Dayton, CityWide) have invested nearly $25 million, leveraged $45 million in additional private investment, and plan to continue to invest in these neighborhoods,” the Premier stated.

RELATED: Empty beds, high costs led to Good Sam closing

Carter said the group of pastors are not against having a discussion with Premier and have had conversations, like a public forum held in February, but the economic reasons Premier gave at those meetings were not convincing.

“We don’t believe it’s economic and or financial because at the same time they are closing operations here on the west side of Dayton — a predominately African American section of our community — they are building up medical services that are similar on other sides of town,” Carter said.

RELATED: ‘Bad news’ for the city: 7 reactions to Good Samaritan Hospital’s closure

The decision to close one of the last anchor institutions on the city’s west side has prompted shock and outrage from residents and city leaders. The push back has included criticism that the closing will disproportionately affect black residents’ access to jobs and health services, who already have higher unemployment rates and worse average health outcomes on key measures like infant mortality.

The health network leadership have said the high number of empty beds and the high cost of keeping up an inefficient and out-of-date facility were factors that played a role in the decision to close the hospital, which is in an area with a declining population that’s been shifting to the suburbs. Premier also has cited that patients and employees from the neighborhoods around Good Samaritan area are already coming to Miami Valley Hospital, which is less than six miles away in Dayton

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