On Thursday, Oct. 20, at 2 p.m., the MA Public Health Council will meet to vote on the DPH staff recommendation to approve the BCH's ill-conceived expansion project. Please join our RALLY on the sidewalk directly in front of the MA State House on Beacon Street, Boston from 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m., on Thursday, Oct. 20. After the rally, we will march to the Public Health Council meeting at 250 Washington Street, and show our support for sending BCH back to the drawing board!
A former Boston Children's Hospital volunteer shared her memory of the Prouty Garden this weekend in Boston Globe Magazine. Her story touches upon the intangible thing that those who have found solace in the Prouty Garden have trouble articulating. It is a sense of wonder that exists in that half-acre healing space. The delight of discovering a hidden statue or fountain, a private shady spot to sit, a bug or a bird or a bunny.
"THIS IS NOT about a garden. Not anymore." So opens today's Boston Globe column by Joan Venocchi on what Boston Children's Hospital's proposed expansion project will mean for the pediatric care market in Boston and Massachusetts. "Giving Boston Children’s Hospital the go-ahead for a $1 billion expansion plan will alter the health care landscape beyond a patch of beloved green space. Expansion would allow Children’s to further dominate the pediatric care market, hurt competitors, and drive up health care costs."
A Boston Herald article published on Saturday, "Prouty backers cry foul on DPH," took a critical look at the recommended approval. Members of an advocacy group attempting to block Boston Children’s Hospital’s $1 billion planned expansion said the state’s recent recommendation to approve those plans is ill-informed, based on skewed information from the hospital itself. “In effect, the staff has relied on what the hospital provided while giving no weight to outside experts,” said Greg McGregor, lead counsel for the Ten Taxpayer Group and Friends of Prouty Garden.
We are disappointed that the staff at the Department of Public Health recommended approval of the $1 billion expansion of Children's Hospital without any substantive or credible analysis of the consequences, ignoring both significant concerns raised by the state's own Health Policy Commission, and objections raised by thousands of patients, families, community members, donors and staff who comprise the Friends of the Prouty Garden.
For the first time ever, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) has weighed in on a determination of need application, saying in a letter to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) that BCH's expansion could increase spending by $8.5 million to $18.1 million annually for commercial payers in Massachusetts.
A news article in today's Boston Globe asks: "Is Children’s $1b project really necessary?" This is a pivotal question. Children's own data show that the demand for children's hospital care is declining both here and nationally. And, state data show Children’s already has the most expensive physician network in Massachusetts. So, why build? Globe reporter Priyanka McCluskey put that question to area health care experts and physicians at competing hospitals. Read on to find out what they had to say.
Boston Children’s Hospital’s (BCH) proposed $1 billion expansion project is explicitly designed to serve international and out-of-state patients, with no clear need for its planned services among Massachusetts families, according to a new analysis commissioned by the hospital by order of the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The report also concluded that a five-year trend of declining patient volumes at BCH is expected to continue into the foreseeable future.
This week, the Ten Taxpayer Group sent a letter to the Health Policy Commission (HPC), asking them to request a change in the scope of the Hospital's required cost analysis. The letter outlines a number of "grievous inadequacies" of the scope, analyses which they believe would shed light on the true financial implications of the expansion project, especially as it impacts health care costs in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts is at risk of approving the largest hospital construction project in state history, an expensive $1 billion building in the heart of the congested Longwood Medical Area. The proposal, by Boston Children’s Hospital, rests on ephemeral, shifting rationales that deserve in-depth scrutiny by state regulators.
The Prouty Garden is a vital, integral part of daily life at BCH, especially for the children and families who are inpatient. Kristina, Owen's mom, says the Prouty Garden is what Owen looks forward to every day. She shared this wonderful, touching video of Owen enjoying two simple things — sun on his face and water on his feet — on the July 4th holiday, a day when many people were out enjoying those same things. Except Owen got to do so while still inpatient within the confines the country's leading pediatric hospital.
In an update to our legal efforts, Judge Kenneth W. Salinger of the Suffolk Superior Court recently ruled to allow the core claim of our ten taxpayer group to move forward, denying the hospital's motion to dismiss. According to our lawyer, “It’s mostly good news for the Friends of Prouty Garden because the lawsuit against Children’s Hospital is intact and it goes forward."
Today the Prouty Garden and the growing controversy over the hospital expansion received national coverage in the New York Times. Reporter Abby Goodnough writes: "But while the garden has a powerful emotional tug, the group has also raised a practical question: Will a bigger, higher-tech hospital thwart state and national efforts to get spiraling medical costs under control?" This last question about keeping health care costs down is crucial. It's why this is about the Prouty Garden — and about so much more than the garden.
Dr. Brazelton has long been a strong supporter of the Prouty Garden. He supports both expanding Boston Children's Hospital AND preserving the Prouty Garden. He has witnessed firsthand the powerful impact that the Prouty Garden has on patients and delivered a moving testimony at the February DPH hearing describing one such experience. He was kind enough to record a radio message which we are running on WBZ-AM radio this week, which you can listen to here.
In a recent op-ed in CommonWealth magazine, Susan Regan, retired health care attorney and former member of the New York State Public Health Council, states unequivocally that Boston Children's Hospital's proposed project represents backwards progress in healthcare delivery and a missed opportunity to "move decisively in the direction of high-quality, cost-effective care."
Olive loved the Prouty Garden. She delighted in the squirrels and was fond of the hidden frog statue. She loved to play with bubbles by the fountain. At home in Maine, Olive enjoyed daily outdoor walks with her parents and her grandparents; the Prouty Garden allowed Olive to continue her routine of getting outside in nature every day while at BCH, even when all other aspects of her day-to-day were interrupted.
For the culmination of her year-long research project, Simmons College student Erin Hickey conducted a qualitative analysis of the comments on our Change.org petition to preserve the Prouty Garden at BCH. As you'll see, there are several key themes that frequently appear in the comments, including the garden as an "oasis," the garden's holistic healing qualities, the connection to nature the garden provides, the spiritual benefits, the sense of normalcy, benefits to staff, and so much more.