Shattuck Partners aims to raise $50K for local hospital

November 12, 2013
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A friends group aims to raise $50,000 to improve patients’ experience at the local Lemuel Shattuck Hospital with a Nov. 14 fundraiser.

Shattuck Partners is a volunteer-run nonprofit that provides service the state hospital’s budget does not, ranging from art therapy to ethnic foods to TVs.

“All hospitals have televisions,” said Frieda Cohen, chairperson of the Fundraising Committee for Shattuck Partners. “It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal to install them, but there is definite improvement in behavior for patients without visitations from friends and relatives.”

The Shattuck Hospital, located at 170 Morton St. next to Franklin Park, is a multi-service state hospital aimed at serving lower-income or institutional patients.

“We refer to the hospital as a three-legged stool,” said Paul Romary, CEO of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital.

One “leg” is the Department of Corrections floor, which is a secure wing where inmates suffering from acute mental or physical health issues can receive treatment for up to about a week at a time. There are also outpatient services for that department.

Another leg is the mental health unit, treating severe and chronic mental illnesses. It allows patients to recover and learn life skills. It is one of four state Department of Public Health agencies.

The third leg is available for patients from the community or referred from other hospitals. They can receive long-term care for such problems as infections, alcoholism and drug abuse rehabilitation. That leg covers services from dental care to a daily meeting of a Narcotics Anonymous group.

The hospital is known as a “teaching hospital,” as it trains over 800 medical students through training programs and medical residencies.

“Many people who complete residencies here come back to work,” said Romary. “It takes a special type of doctor to serve the underserved.”

Lemuel Shattuck, the hospital’s namesake, was known for developing the original plan that led to the establishment of the first Board of Health in Massachusetts. It opened as a 650-bed teaching hospital in 1954, and the pilot correctional unit opened in 1976 after U.S. Supreme Court guaranteed inmates access to a community standard of care. In 1986, the Shattuck had the first dedicated HIV inpatient unit in New England, and continues to specialize in HIV/AIDS treatment.

“As the community’s needs have changed, so has our hospital to accommodate for local needs,” explained Romary.

Former Massachusetts First Lady Kitty Dukakis founded The Friends of the Shattuck Shelter, now called hopeFound, which is an emergency shelter for men and women next to the Shattuck. It is currently run by Pine Street Inn and is supported by the hospital in a formal relationship. In 2007, the 32-bed Kitty Dukakis Treatment Center for Women opened at the hospital.

The operating budget for the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, from all funding sources, totals $72.4 million. But that leaves some gaps in funding for programs and infrastructure.

As the Gazette previously reported, a day care operating at Shattuck Hospital will be evicted in June 2014. The 10-story building in which it currently operates is being decommissioned due to deterioration, according to Romary.

The nonprofit Shattuck Partners raises money to fill some funding gaps. It provides various types of art therapy, including music and poetry programs. In collaboration with Roxbury’s Museum of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, Shattuck Partners has held Saturday art workshops for seven years.

Vocational training, exercise equipment and various types of ethnic foods are other programs and services Shattuck Partners funds.

In the future, the nonprofit plans to offer literacy and computer training programs.

Shattuck Partners is able to enter grant programs that a state hospital cannot. It operates a Shattuck Partners Store to raise funds, but still relies heavily on donations to fund supplemental services to Shattuck patients.

The annual Shattuck Partners fundraiser, “Autumn Night at the Seaport,” will be held Thurs., Nov. 14, 6-8:30 p.m. at the Seaport Boston Hotel downtown. For more information about the fundraiser or volunteering, see shattuckpartners.org.