Former Martha Eliot official questions ending service

March 29, 2013
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A Jamaica Plain doctor, who is a former official at Martha Eliot Health Center, in a letter to the Gazette is questioning Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) decision to end adult service at the health center.

Dr. John Jewett, who worked at MEHC for 13 years, including three years as the director of adult medicine, wrote that he does not understand BCH decision or explanation.

According to Jewett, because hospitals benefit financially from neighborhoods when its residents become ill, they should be asked to help keep them well.

“Children’s recent announcement about MEHC is an unfortunate, abrupt retreat from this longstanding commitment and it creates the appearance of putting their own financial interests before the well-being of the greater community,” he wrote in the letter.

BCH did not respond directly to a request for comment.

Countering BCH’s claim that it wants to focus on children health services, Jewett cited the fact that health centers often rely on multiple institutions for care.

BCH has also said that future changes in the health care industry is another reason of ending adult services. Jewett wrote those are “theoretical” and is a case of BCH of “putting the cart before the horse.”

BCH announced in January that it is ending service for about 5,000 adult patients at MEHC, which is located at 75 Bickford St. in Jackson Square. Adult service is provided in partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), which was not consulted about the decision. BCH is also reviewing what care to provide to children at MEHC.

BCH was slated to hold a community meeting on ending the service March 27, after the Gazette deadline.

  • Maria

    While Children’s Hospital expands in affluent suburbs, it is terminating care for patients in its only inner-city health center. Should a large Boston institution that pays no property tax not provide the city with in-kind value?

    There are not enough primary care physicians in the state or the city, let alone enough for adults with less-than-highly-remunerative insurance. How will 5,000 adults suddenly find new doctors? How will that affect their health? How will it affect the health of their children?

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