The following was released by SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley in response to the resignation of Dr. Anosh Ahmed, Loretto Hospital’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer:
CHICAGO – “On behalf of our 190 members who work at Loretto Hospital, and of our wider membership of frontline healthcare workers across Chicago and across the state of Illinois, I want to express our appreciation for the Loretto board’s seeking and accepting the resignation of Dr. Anosh Ahmed.
“Our members at Loretto were daily witness to vaccination irregularities and were early voices in raising the alarm that vaccine doses were being improperly redirected away from the high-risk Austin community which has already experienced a disproportionate share of the suffering, illness, and loss inflicted by this pandemic.
“With this important step, the board is signaling their willingness to take the concerns of both workers and community members seriously. It is our fervent hope that the board will now take the additional steps needed to ensure that worker and community voices are heard both in redressing the impact of these misappropriated vaccine doses, and in addressing the longstanding issues of racial and income based disparities in healthcare access that have plagued the Austin neighborhood for decades.
“There is an immediate need at present to make sure that Austin residents are able to get timely access to vaccinations. And then, there is a need to address the larger, largely ignored scandal—the redirection, through legal and officially sanctioned means of funding and resources away from the health needs of communities like Austin and into the bank accounts and stock holdings of much larger, wealthier hospitals in the richest zip codes of the city.
“We urge the board to listen to and work with our members and Austin residents to address both the immediate need for vaccine access, and to move quickly to develop a program that ensures vaccinations are truly accessible for all Austin residents who seek them.
“Additionally, we take this opportunity to call for a renewed commitment by those involved in the daily running, resourcing and regulation of the city’s hospitals to accessible and affordable healthcare in all of Chicago’s high-risk and low-income communities, from Austin and Loretto to the South Shore communities recently threatened by the closure of Mercy Hospital and beyond.”
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