Dear neighbors,

I’m writing today to provide an update to the recent proposal for the largest for-profit urgent care company in the country to be placed a block away from the nonprofit South Boston Community Health Center (SBCHC) on West Broadway. Through the advocacy of my neighbors and my fellow South Boston Elected Officials, the for-profit urgent care formally withdrew from the Zoning Board of Appeal on Tuesday, February 6th. Although this proposal is no longer on the table, we need to remain vigilant about any future proposals and impacts to our nonprofit community health centers in Boston.

I realize some of my constituents may have different opinions on this issue, so I would like to provide my thoughts here. As many of you know, I called for a City Council hearing on this as a city-wide issue in the wake of the Steward Health Care crisis and similar concerns on for-profit healthcare, and what the ripple effects eventually means for all of us in terms of access and quality. I talked about concerns for my constituents across South Boston – including our seniors, persons with disabilities, communities of color, immigrant neighbors and our most vulnerable at BHA Public Housing Developments at Mary Ellen McCormack, Old Colony, West 9th Street Apartments and the West Broadway Development.

At the time, I tried to sound the alarm and warn that this could be the first shoe to drop in South Boston and that other for-profit urgent care centers could eventually look to pop up a block from other neighborhood community health centers across the city – and threaten the viability, staff, services, and programs of invaluable and beloved neighborhood institutions like Codman Square Community Health Center, South Cove Community Health Center, Bowdoin Street Community Health Center, and East Boston Community Health Center to name a few.

This proposal in South Boston was highly unusual from the start – an Abutters Meeting date and Zoning Board of Appeal date almost a week apart for the largest for-profit urgent care company in the country.

In the final analysis, the SBCHC has been an invaluable partner with the people of South Boston for 50 years and services 70,000 patients annually, while the largest for-profit urgent care company in the country offers a fraction of the services and can pack up and leave at any time if they’re unhappy with their profit margin – and we’re all left to pick up the pieces.

Unfortunately, this good news for public health and my constituents was short-lived, as I was disappointed to learn that the BPDA previously made a recommendation to the ZBA to approve the for-profit urgent care proposal before it had been withdrawn. I was in shock and disbelief before tracking down the memo, where it made a dishonest statement that the largest for-profit urgent care company in the country made sense due to the proximity of the neighborhood community health center, as if they complement each other. It was the first reason they listed. It was unconscionable.

On the Council floor last week, I noted that after all we have heard for years about the profit motive in healthcare – the BPDA was ready to recommend and place the largest for-profit urgent care company in the country a block away from the nonprofit Health Center. In my view, it would’ve been shortsighted and put the public health of the town at risk in the long-term. The BPDA showed poor judgment and ruthless disregard for the welfare of the people of South Boston.

I thank my neighbors for their continued advocacy on this issue and for making their voices heard. Please continue to contact my team and me on any constituent service and quality of life issues at [email protected] and 617-635-3203.

Thank you,

Ed

4 Comments

  1. C February 15, 2024 at 6:07 am - Reply

    what a bonehead…so sad this guy actually has authority in this city.

  2. C February 15, 2024 at 6:36 am - Reply

    Tell me you’re a politician who doesn’t understand the difference between a full service health clinic and a n urgent care center, without saying it directly… and he represents us. oof!

  3. Al Roche February 15, 2024 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    As a user of SBCHC with all phases of health taken care of if an emergency care is needed
    Boston Medical is a short drive if an ambulance is needed it’s not a long wait

  4. Resident February 17, 2024 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    I don’t think the Health Center and a for-profit urgent care have the same clientele.

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