Mr. George Gaines Jr. was born on January
24, 1930 in Biloxi, Mississippi. His father, George,
migrated to Detroit around 1929 from New Orleans. His
mother, Mildred Pollard Gaines, followed her husband
to Detroit shortly before his birth.
Jr. graduated from Northwestern High School in 1949
and began his college career at Adrian College in Adrian,
Michigan. After a year, he transferred to Wayne University
and received his bachelor's degree in 1953. He enrolled
in Detroit College of Law, but was drafted into the
Army and served until 1955.
Jr. returned to Detroit and began working in insurance
sales. A year later he started working as a caseworker
for the Children's Aid Society for a year and a half.
that he worked as a social investigator for Wayne County
and enrolled in the School of Social Work at Wayne State
University. He earned his master's degree in 1963. From
1964 through 1965, Mr. Gaines Jr. worked as a psychiatric
social worker at Wayne County General Hospital. He left
that position to become a medical social worker at Herman
Kiefer Hospital and worked on an experimental project
aimed at moving the treatment of tuberculosis from inpatient
to ambulatory care.
Mr. Gaines Jr. is a private consultant and teaches in
the School of Social Work at Wayne State University.
a member of the Association of Black Social Workers,
the National Association of Black Social Workers, and
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored
People. He has also worked with the Congress of Racial
Equality (C.O.R.E.) and the Student Non-violent Coordinating
following excerpt is from George Gaines Jr., a Medical
Social Worker for the City of Detroit during the 1960s
and 1970s, who spoke about the political implications
of the bed reduction plan in Detroit during the early
early 1970s, at the macro level, the power and influence
for hospitals was and is the Greater Detroit Area Hospital
Association, which is a trade association for hospitals
subsisting on government grants and United Foundation
money. In addition, they, in their wisdom, determined
that there were too many hospitals. That Detroit was
over-bedded. And that the over-bedding ran the cost
of health care up because we had beds that were vacant.
And you had to pay for those beds, because of overhead.
And they had study after study to establish that Detroit
was way over-bedded and that Detroit needed to cut back
on the number of hospital beds. Their design was to
close these small hospitals. Their general principle
was to consolidate hospitals and to close them. Consolidate,
then cut back on the number of beds. But, at the macro
level, it was this Greater Detroit Area Hospital Association
and the Wayne State University Department of Community
Medicine who determined that Detroit was over-bedded.
And from my point of view, it has to be a political
power situation. Those who had the power retained the
beds; those who did not have the power lost the beds.
Nobody was concerned about Henry Ford Hospital. Plus,
at the macro level, the federal government was interested
in, being a payer, the over-bedded situation and, remember,
they passed comprehensive health legislation. And that's
when the certificate of need started. It began to show
that the government would have more and more influence
on the shape and size of health care systems because
they were a major payer. The black hospitals fell victim
to that federal-local shrinking, consolidating of the
health care system. It was clearly based on the power
situation. Fortunately, self-interest of black professionals,
especially doctors, got established in Detroitthat
there is such a thing as a black hospital and that a
black hospital is black owned; the board is majority
blackand got dispensations on giving up beds, which
is the only thing that saved Southwest Detroit Hospital.
I mean they would have wiped that out. I mean the black
hospitals would have been completely wiped out. The
black members on the Comprehensive Health Planning Council
of Southeast Michigan, which oversaw the certificate
of need process, established that there is such a thing
as a traditional black hospital and it serves a unique
role. Otherwise, they would have been wiped out completely.
But basically, from the macro level, there was the federal
government, the state governmentthe payersand they
would say shrink. That's just my point.