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Posted: June 1, 2008 3:09 a.m.
Updated: August 2, 2008 5:01 a.m.
How far should benevolence reach? How do we determine who deserves help?
With Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital's Transitional Care Unit set to close by Thursday, those questions need to be asked.
Starting Monday, the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center is offering weekday rides for family members of patients who have to stay at the Astoria nursing and rehab center in Sylmar, local seniors' alternative to Newhall Memorial's defunct Transitional Care Unit.
Also starting this week, the city is adjusting a bus route to provide transportation directly to Astoria several times a day.
There's no denying these are benevolent gestures - easing the burden, if only a little, of those affected by Newhall Memorial's decision.

Our question is this: Why is taxpayer money being spent to remedy this issue?

City residents, your tax dollars are being used to re-route that bus.

The Senior Center receives much of its funding from the county, which also spends your tax dollars.
All this prompts a few questions.

Will rides be provided for parents of children who are patients at Childrens Hospital in downtown Los Angeles?

If your wife is being treated for cancer at City of Hope in Duarte, can you count on Santa Clarita to give you a lift?

If your father is being treated for heart problems at Cedars Sinai in Beverly Hills, is your transportation spoken for?

Who determines how benevolence is dispersed?

We commend the hospital for doing its part to better serve the valley by improving acute care services. The community at large benefits from this move.

However, TCU patients, primarily seniors, are left asking: "What now?"

But is the best solution to use taxpayer funds - your money - to aid a select group affected by a local nonprofit's decision?

It's not that we're opposed to helping families of people in need - but why are the tax dollars all of us begrudgingly surrender being spent to aid such a special interest?

And what's the solution?

It is admirable that people in this valley have been working to find a remedy for the problem created by the TCU closure.

G & E Healthcare - which owns the Astoria facility in Sylmar - plans to open a skilled nursing home in Saugus. However, that likely won't become a reality for some three years.

What happens in the meantime? In our opinion, using taxpayer dollars as a remedy to issues created by the TCU closure is not the wisest decision.

Newhall Memorial is a private organization. Maybe that means public money shouldn't be poured into remedying the problem created by closing the TCU. For that matter, why isn't the hospital doing anything to help the patients it's shutting out?

There's got to be a better way, and we urge the hospital to find it.


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