Buffalo (WKBW) - West Side community members, elected officials and Mattina healthcare workers rallied Monday afternoon against Kaleida's planned closing of the Mattina Community Health Center in Buffalo.
Kaleida officials called it strictly a business decision. Citing state budget cuts, decreases in Medicare and insurance reimbursements, and declining patient numbers, Kaleida said it was fiscally the right thing to do. Under the new plan, there would be an expansion of the Northwest Buffalo Community Health Center into Buffalo's West Side, enough to cover the patients from the Mattina Center.
But protestors said that is insufficient. A press release from organizers said: "Closing the clinic would result in thousands of community members losing access to quality, affordable care. Kaleida continues to close clinics that provide care to Buffalo's low income community. Over the past few years, Kaleida has closed over six clinics that provide care to those most in need, including Project Reach and the Buffalo General Eye Clinic."
The rally at the Mattina Community Health Center is part of a national day of action on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death. Protestors held signs and cheered not only to keep the center open, but for workers' rights
and union solidarity.
The Mattina Center offers basic dental services, radiology including walk-in mammography one day a week, social work, laboratory services, family planning services, physical therapy, podiatry, and a dietitian. The Center also provides van service to and from the facility for medical appointments.
Kaleida says all patients will be covered, and the 60 workers at the center will be given the opportunity to relocate to different centers, and no layoffs will be needed.