State officials will reveal its recommendations for the future use of the current Shattuck Hospital Campus at a public meeting on June 25. The state is relocating 260 inpatient beds to the Newton Pavilion at the Boston Medical Center campus. The state is relocating the beds because the campus needs significant renovations. Nonprofit provider programs currently operating at the Shattuck, including residential treatment programs, outpatient psychiatric services, Pine Street shelter and methadone clinic, will remain at the Shattuck. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services and the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance have led a 10-month planning process, which ends this month.
ByState Rep. Liz Malia and State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz |
The 70th anniversary of the law that enabled the state to treat chronically ill individuals at Lemuel Shattuck Hospital seems like an apt time to consider how our understanding of public health has changed, and how pressing the need for access to health care remains. Chapter 770 of the Acts of 1949 formalized the City of Boston and the Commonwealth’s agreement to transfer “up to 15 acres of…Franklin Park...Any land conveyed under this act shall, from and after such conveyance be held for the state department of public health, which is hereby authorized and directed to construct on such land a six-hundred bed hospital for the care of persons suffering from chronic disease, including a nurse’s home, outpatient department and other facilities.”
Policymakers then understood a general link between poverty and chronic disease incidence, which is why they agreed to build a public teaching hospital and outpatient facilities offering affordable diagnosis and rehabilitation services in the Commonwealth’s biggest city. Since then, diabetes and addiction have overtaken tuberculosis as public health threats, but the poverty-health link is clearer than ever now. We see our poorest neighbors often struggling with multiple chronic conditions (infectious and otherwise) that are impossible to treat when their housing is unstable or nonexistent. The infectious diseases that incubate among economically fragile, homeless and very sick populations rarely stay there, as San Diego and other cities have learned to their chagrin. I and others worked with state agencies in 2018 to meet your request for more transparent planning. I’ve spent the last year following the work of the Shattuck Hospital’s Community Advisory Board and neighbors to define a new service model that will ready the campus for another century of public health shifts. Those conversations between the state’s Executive Office of Health & Human Services, the Department of Public Health, and Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, and the City of Boston’s Departments of Neighborhood Development and Health and Human Services and your neighbors are informed by links between poverty, housing and health. At almost every neighborhood meeting I attend with you, and in others across districts, the most common questions raised are: how anyone can afford to continue living here?
The community is invited to a public meeting to discuss the planning process for the future use of the Shattuck Hospital campus on Jan. 16. The state is working with Health Resources in Action (HRiA), a non-profit public health organization, to facilitate a 12-month planning process. HRiA will provide a final report with its recommendations for the future use of the site in June 2019. A Shattuck Campus Planning Community Advisory Board is also working on the plan.
The Shattuck Hospital campus will see a bunch of changes in the coming months and years. The state is planning to relocate 260 inpatient beds and other programs from Jamaica Plain to the South End in 2021, while also recently approving a 99-year lease for two acres of housing for chronically homeless individuals. There are two upcoming community meetings to discuss the changes. There will be an April 12th meeting to discuss the programs that are moving. During the meeting Massachusetts Secretary of Health & Human Services Marylou Sudders will be providing an overview of the relocation project and outline of the 12-month planning process.