BCH Expansion: An Unnecessarily Bloated Enterprise

We think you will find John Lynch’s latest report, "Response to the DPH on Relative Merit & Project Alternatives in the Matter of DoN Project 4-3C47," submitted today, to be a compelling window into the ongoing work we have been doing.  Lynch does not mince words - making clear the contradictions and discrepancies which run rampant through the words and actions of Boston Children’s Hospital (the Applicant), as they have progressed through the process of expansion. 

What follows are some highlights, though we urge you to read the whole report here.  In addition, parent and member of the ‘Ten Taxpayer Group,’ Gus Murby, has also submitted a report, as a layperson, to point out the omissions and inconsistencies in BCH’s April 11, 2016 Letter from BCH to the DoN program.  Murby deftly leads us through a choppy chain of events, starting back as early as 2006, that lead to the conclusion, ultimately, that the “BCH Letter omits material information, and is misleading.  [It] presents BCH’s own self-serving conclusions that it meets criteria that BCH itself had established, without sufficient detail to allow BCH’s conclusions to be tested.”  You can read Murby’s full report here.

Lynch report highlights

Lynch, on the soliciting of international patients…

"...the Applicant has eschewed the more innovative approaches of its peer pediatric hospitals nationally. Many of these rely on partnerships with regional provider networks in the Middle East 3 , China, and other international markets. (which enable patients to both stay in the Middle East and receive world-class care)."
"To serve similar international clientele, this Project instead proposes a facilities-centric proposal in Massachusetts that would further contribute to traffic and other congestion that would unnecessarily impede the flow of emergency medical services, patient and family access, and other adverse service consequences in the already densely-developed Longwood medical area."

Lynch, on the question of “need” vs “demand” …

"There are no tools for the Department to properly evaluate international demand, nor to translate it into actual “need” for the expansion of services proposed by [BCH]. Demand is not the same as need. The DoN program was promulgated in recognition of this distinction.
[The DPH is limited] to the needs of Massachusetts residents with no authority or responsibility to consider the health care needs, or “demand,” in other states or countries. …. the Project must be denied on this basis alone."

Lynch, on the actual “inpatient” need in pediatrics and at BCH …

"It’s presumably a coincidence the Applicant is proposing a percentage increase in bed supply that mirrors in reverse the decline in its inpatient volume since 2010 [17.6%].  And the pediatric analytics experts at Sg2 project continuing inpatient declines as well: “We project an 8% decline in overall national pediatric inpatient discharges…over the next 10 years….
"Despite this substantial decline—and the fact its current bed capacity isn’t even fully staffed (latest CHIA figures show only 389 staffed beds of 404 licensed)—the Applicant is seeking a 17.6% increase (71 beds) in its current bed capacity. And this is before including its proposal to add 48 more beds planned at its Waltham facility—a combined increase of almost 30%.
By its own definition, all of this expansion is being proposed not to serve the needs of Massachusetts residents, whose need for pediatric beds is flat or declining."

Lynch, on opposition…

"Seldom are DoN applications that come before the Department actively and publicly opposed by members of the applicant hospital’s own medical staff.  Over 125 past and present physicians and BCH professionals—and the number who also oppose the Project but fear retribution is likely much higher—have joined over 16,000 other signatories in signing a petition opposing this Project because of the “adverse consequences” of the plan submitted.
"That adverse, and avoidable, consequence is the planned destruction of an irreplaceable healing resource at BCH—Prouty Garden—when less disruptive alternatives to the Project exist. The opposition to this Project by these medical leaders underscores the false choice presented by the Project as either preserving this treatment resource—considered a gold standard for hospital healing gardens—or saving children’s lives."

Lynch discusses at length alternatives and solutions that include vertical expansion of the Mandell Building, revisiting of the Enders Research building project (which was inexplicably abandoned, as Gus Murby points out in his report), Bader building, and Waltham facility and Brookline Place, as well as 11 other options rejected by BCH which may prove more feasible.

Finally, Lynch addresses cost factors — “this makes the Project the exact opposite of the “lowest reasonable aggregate cost” for making health care services reasonably available to Massachusetts residents and concludes with “The Applicant’s current Project fails on all relevant regulatory requirements, including its failure to properly evaluate all the viable alternatives and substitutes with greater relative merit than the unnecessarily bloated enterprise it has proposed with this Project.”

There is much more in this rich report, and we urge you to read it, understand it, share it widely.  Please ask us if you have any questions.

Your Support is Still Needed!

As you can see from these report and other recent DPH filings, our effort to save the Prouty Garden from demolition is ongoing and requires the attention to detail of a team of experts. In addition to time, this requires a great deal of money to continue.

We are asking today for your continued financial support of our efforts. Many of you have given already, multiple times, and those donations have been put to good use as we continue to critically examine every facet of the hospital's proposed expansion project.  

However, in order to keep going, we need your ongoing support. We have a monthly fundraising goal of $5,000 which we need to consistently meet or exceed each and every month.

Please consider a monthly donation to save this precious garden, this embodiment of BCH's renowned healing mission. Donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/saveprouty.