For-profit urgent care clinic proposed in South Boston sparks concern from officials

Elected officers from South Boston say they’re towards a for-profit pressing care firm seeking to arrange store a block away from the nonprofit South Boston Community Health Center, a proposal that they concern might hurt residents who depend on the prevailing heart.

American Family Care, one of many largest pressing care heart operators within the nation, has its eyes on bringing a clinic to 457-469A West Broadway, simply up the street from the prevailing neighborhood well being heart which averages 70,000 visits a yr.

The shut proximity between the 2 “has the potential to jeopardize the financial stability of South Boston Community Health Center,” City Councilor Ed Flynn stated final week earlier than the council accepted his order for a listening to on how for-profit well being care facilities impression nonprofits.

Exact particulars on what’s being proposed weren’t instantly out there. The metropolis Zoning Board of Appeals is ready to carry a listening to on American Family Care’s request on Wednesday.

While pressing care facilities present walk-in companies for sufferers experiencing non-emergency medical points reminiscent of small accidents and minor infections, a few of them are for-profit, Flynn stated. That means the companies depend on “investments from private equity firms and venture capital funds,” he wrote in his listening to order.

“Urgent care centers can be attractive investments because they do not have the legal obligations to treat patients if they do not have the ability to pay, unlike emergency departments,” the listening to order states.

But on the similar time, Flynn stated, extra for-profit pressing care facilities are popping up throughout town, with some being situated close to nonprofit neighborhood well being care facilities, threatening their “financial viability.”

“Let me be clear, I don’t want to see cuts to programs, services and staff at any of these beloved community health care centers,” Flynn stated. “As similar to other development issues, this may be the first shoe to drop in South Boston but it could happen in many of the other neighborhoods across the city.”

American Family Care operates greater than 200 amenities throughout 26 states, treating practically 3 million sufferers a yr, based on its firm web site. It appears to be like to have greater than 500 clinics nationwide within the subsequent 5 years.

The firm says it’s completely different from different pressing care clinics as a result of it gives “digital X-rays, state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures, electronic medical record keeping,” amongst different companies.

City Councilor At-Large Erin Murphy echoed Flynn’s considerations and stated there was a lack of knowledge in regards to the proposal. She highlighted how the prevailing neighborhood well being heart companions with metropolis hospitals and the way it distributed 35,000 vaccines and examined 14,000 folks for COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.

“I am deeply concerned that the South Boston Community Health Center, as a non-profit, will be at a financial disadvantage on the unequal footing of AFC’s for-profit status,” she stated, “and the manifold good the Health Center achieves should not be undermined because of this.”

State Sen. Nick Collins, talking to the Herald, in contrast the potential impacts the for-profit pressing care clinic might have on South Boston Community Health Center to the monetary disaster plaguing Steward Health Care System.

Steward, the biggest non-public for-profit healthcare community within the nation, reportedly thought-about closing 4 of its 9 Massachusetts hospitals as a result of its dire monetary state. The Dallas-based system allegedly owes $50 million in unpaid hire and is the topic of greater than a dozen lawsuits in Massachusetts filed by distributors and workers over unpaid invoices since 2022.

But the corporate’s government vice chairman wrote in a Friday letter to workers that the system has secured a “significant financial transaction” that he says will “help stabilize” the corporate and save a few of its Bay State hospitals from shuttering.

The proposed web site of a for-profit pressing care clinic in South Boston. (Nancy Lane/Boston Herald)