While he doesn’t believe the current hospital industry is wholeheartedly corrupt—and in fact, he’s proud to see the innovations the industry has made over the years—John Stavros does see a disconnect in how expensive health care has become.
“In some ways, the industry has really improved over the years. But what I care about is the issue of access and cost that seems to have gotten worse over time,” said Stavros, a former health care worker and consultant on American Hospitals, Healing a Broken System, a new film featured in community screenings across the state and country.
“In my opinion, this film represents everything wrong with the current-day health care system,” Stavros said. “It’s a master class in what has happened over the years.”
The South Bay Community Center in Los Osos will host a showing of American Hospitals, Healing a Broken System at the South Bay Community Center in Los Osos, 2180 Palisades Ave., at 7 p.m. on July 27 for free followed by a panel discussion about the topics discussed in the film.
Stavros is just one of the former health care professionals who advised, contributed to, and—in his own words—are giving back to the community they served for years by sharing their stories and experiences as they watched the health care industry change around them.
“I helped the producer as an advisor during the development of the film,” Stavros said. “Originally I worked at a hospital, but now I want to give back by getting this film shown throughout the country.”
The film is the fourth installment in a documentary series produced by the Unfinished Business Foundation that focuses on the economic impact the U.S. health care system experienced after rates for services rose drastically in the 21st century.
“American Hospitals dissects the underlying economic structure of hospitals to determine why health care costs are out of control and what can be done to reform the system,” according to promotional materials.
The film has been shown across 20 cities nationwide in addition to being shown in more than 50 community and virtual screenings.
“Our goal is to raise public awareness of the rise of powerful hospital systems throughout the country … all while safety-net and rural hospitals have been shuttered and inequity and classism in access and treatment to health care pervades American society,” promotional materials stated.
Stavros is working with local health professionals to assemble the panel that will discuss the film after its showing.
“While we don’t have an official lineup ready yet, we are working on putting a panel together that represents the various aspects of the social services industry and health services community,” he said. “A lot of people don’t realize that those social services are peripheral to hospital systems.”
Stavros said that the makers of the film have plans to release the production to the public sometime in the fall, but that right now the focus is on grassroots promotion and the panels held after the film is shown.
“That’s our whole goal—we want to have this film shown and then have a panel that connects the health industry back to the people in the community,” he said. “To do that you also have to acknowledge the things around the industry that are impacted by these economic factors as well.”
Part of that emphasis on the rural community comes from the film’s secondary focus—solving problems in smaller communities.
“[Our other] objective is to explore the solutions that have been instituted in Maryland and to see how these innovations have worked so far,” according to promotional materials. “[We want] to stimulate dialogue between consumers, health care providers, and hospitals.”
Ultimately Stavros hopes that people will not only come and see the screening on July 27 but also take information from the film back to their communities and push for change—especially in smaller towns where rising hospital costs can make or break a community.
“Sure it’s been shown in big cities and had big premieres—that’s all important, and we are proud the film has done well,” he said. “But eventually, our idea is to get people together to see what kind of action can be taken.”
• The Center Studio, a San Luis Obispo-based wellness center, recently donated the proceeds from its community education classes to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast. The donation will support the Clubs’ Youth Mindfulness Movement Program for kids, held at the Railroad Clubhouse in Santa Maria and the Tom Maas Clubhouse in Paso Robles. The program encourages mindfulness in children through the practice of yoga and provides them with a space to build strength, enhance flexibility, and develop emotional resilience, according the the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mid Central Coast. The Center Studio also donated 20 yoga mats to the Clubs’ program. For more information, visit thecenterslo.com and centralcoastkids.org.
Reach New Times Staff Writer Adrian Vincent Rosas, from the Sun’s sister paper, at [email protected].