Boston City Councilman Ed Flynn is criticizing the BPDA for recommending approval of a for-profit urgent care clinic in South Boston. (Herald document photo)
City Councilman Ed Flynn is slamming the Boston Planning and Development Agency for recommending approval of a for-profit urgent care clinic that would have been located one block from the nonprofit South Boston Community Health Center.
A day after the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals approved American Family Care’s request to withdraw its application, Flynn accused the BPDA of showing “poor judgment and callous disregard” in supporting the project.
“I’m going to be as civil as possible, but I think everyone here and in this city knows that if you’re going to come after my constituents, prepare for a fight,” Flynn said at the end of Wednesday’s town hall. You should keep it.”
“We call ourselves the most progressive city in the city,” he continued, “and despite 15 years of hearing about the profit motive in health care, the BPDA is one of the largest A country company one block away from a non-profit health center that was prepared to recommend and adhere to the desired emergency treatment. Incredibly short-sighted. In the long run, this would put the town’s public health at risk. ”
The BPDA said in a memo to the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals last week that the proposed location, 457-469A West Broadway, would serve as an urgent care clinic because the agency believed it would help meet the needs of the community. Recommended approval.
BPDA stressed that the clinic was to be located in an “existing but unoccupied ground floor space.”
“This proposed location is a particularly well-suited location for an urgent care clinic as it is approximately a two-minute walk from the South Boston Regional Health Center and approximately a 10-minute walk from several nearby dental facilities,” the memo states. has been done. Therefore, it will strengthen this (corridor) as an important destination that serves the health needs of South Boston residents. ”
But Flynn disagreed, saying, “This is not a medical desert and there is no community need for this proposal.”
Dennis A. Quilty, an attorney representing American Family Care, said the company formally withdrew from the project in a letter to ZBA Chairman Shelly Dong last Thursday. Quilty did not provide specifics on the reasons behind the company’s withdrawal.
American Family Care operates more than 200 facilities in 26 states and treats approximately 3 million patients annually, according to the company’s website. More than 500 clinics are expected to open across the country over the next five years.
The company says it’s different from other urgent care clinics because it offers “digital x-rays, state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures, and electronic medical record management,” among other services.
In a statement to the Herald on Wednesday evening, a BPDA spokesperson said: “There was a miscommunication within the company and as a result we recommended approval of this project. BPDA staff has spoken with Congressman Flynn to resolve this issue. solved.”
City Councilmember Erin Murphy and state Sen. Nick Collins, who also represents Southie, joined Flynn in opposing the proposed clinic, saying it could have a negative financial impact on South Boston Regional Medical Center. did.
“SBCHC has been an invaluable partner to the people of South Boston for 50 years, serving 70,000 patients annually,” Flynn said Wednesday. If you’re unhappy with your profit margins, you can always up and quit. This was not a close call. The BPDA showed poor judgment and callous disregard for the welfare of the people of South Boston. ”
The City Council approved Flynn’s order last week to hold a public hearing on how for-profit urgent care clinics would impact nonprofit health centers.
After Flynn’s remarks, Council President Lousie Louiseune said she would like to reverse the announcement made at the end of the council meeting, but that discussion of the larger issues should be reserved for a public hearing.
“We know these issues are important,” Louiseune said. “We also want to make sure we keep you informed about birthdays and events and things like that. That’s what has traditionally happened.”