GLENDLAE–A year and a half after first proposing to privatize the Glendale Health Center, LA County Supervisor Michael Antonovich announced this week that the move is no longer being considered.
The announcement was hailed by staff and patients at the Center, as well as the Armenian Youth Federation which has actively engaged in the campaign to keep the clinic from being turned over to private hands.
“Rejecting the proposal to privatize the Glendale Health Center is the right decision and a major victory for our community,” said AYF Executive Director Serouj Aprahamian. “At a time when people need health care more than ever, we should not be toying with measures that risk severing such vital services to those who need it most.”
The Glendale Health Center is one of LA County’s most successful primary care clinics, with over 3,500 patients and 11,000 patient visits each year, the majority of whom are uninsured and medically-underserved Armenian elderly. A proposal to privatize the center was introduced in 2008 by the LA County Board of Supervisors, threatening to drive up costs and leave many of these patients without the adequate, affordable care they rely upon.
In response to the proposal, the union representing employees at the clinic, SEIU Local 721, launched a campaign against privatization. The AYF soon joined in the effort, along with other community organizations, patients and elected officials. Several forums, delegations to the offices of Supervisor Antonovich, letter writing campaigns, rallies and other actions were organized to prevent the plan from being pushed through behind the back of the community.
“It just shows that if we’re aware of what’s happening around us then we can prevent things from happening like the privatization of the Glendale Health Center,” said Maria Levando, a twenty-year patient at the clinic.
A few weeks prior to the announcement that privatization was being taken off of the table, CCHC, one of the private agencies vying for the clinic, suddenly dropped out of the bid. It is believed that the CCHC’s unexpected decision to drop out of the process may have affected the County’s decision to reconsider its proposal.
“We are committed to staying vigilant on any matter which affects the well-being of our community,” said AYF Central Executive member Kevork Babayan. “Working on this campaign proved, once again, that the youth have the power and responsibility to defend the interests of our people no matter where they may be.”
With chapters throughout the United States and affiliated organizations around the world, the Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) is the largest and most influential Armenian American youth organization. Inspired by the past and motivated by the needs of the future, the AYF actively strives to advance the social, political, educational and cultural awareness of all Armenian youth.