Mayor ‘concerned’ about health center change

Mayor Thomas Menino is “concerned” about Boston Children’s Hospital’s (BCH) decision to stop serving about 5,000 adult patients at the Martha Eliot Health Center (MEHC), according to a letter he sent to BCH.

“As you know, I am concerned about the decision to discontinue care for adult patients at the Martha Eliot Community Health Center in Jamaica Plain,” Menino stated in a letter dated Feb. 14 that was obtained by the Gazette. “I respectfully request that you partner with my team at the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC) to ensure that this transition is as smooth as possible for your existing patients, health center employees and the community at large.”

BCH responded that it appreciates and takes very seriously the mayor’s advice.

“We have been in communication with him and the Boston Public Health Commission as we begin to carefully help the adult patients at Martha Eliot Health Center to find new local adult providers to meet their health needs moving forward,” said BCH spokesperson Rob Graham.

Menino listed three requests to BCH in the letter: find primary care providers for all adult patients before ending adult service at MEHC and assist employees in finding new jobs; commit to a community process to determine how best MEHC can be used to support the needs of children and adolescents; and to consider increasing its “financial commitment to the Jamaica Plain/Lower Roxbury community.”

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of BPHC and a JP resident, also weighed in on BCH’s decision, echoing many of Menino’s sentiments. According to BPHC, she met with BCH and urged that a community meeting be held to hear from residents and patients.

“Community health centers are the backbone of primary care in our city and provide essential medical and social services to so many of our residents,” Ferrer said through a spokesperson.

BCH had previously said it will hold an information session for patients sometime in March.

[This article has been updated with comment from BCH.]

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