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Boston Medical Center cancels plans for 10-story administration and research building; will add housing for homeless patients

Boston Medical Center has filed a revised master plan for the next ten years that eliminates a controversial new building on Albany Street but adds the conversion of space in an existing administrative building to "supportive housing" for recovering homeless patients with complex medical needs.

The hospital filed revisions to its proposed "institutional master plan" with the BPDA on Monday.

An earlier version of the plan, filed in 2019, had drawn opposition from Worcester Square residents over the proposed new administration and research building. A BPDA task force will discuss the new plan at a May 12 meeting.

In its new filing, BMC said it "listened to the feedback from the Task Force and neighbors and will not pursue a new building" at the site, next to the Newton Pavilion, originally slated for the administration building. The computational research space originally slated for the building will instead be built in a new building nearby, at 10 Stoughton St., while the hospital will begin to plan a new administration building at the hospital's current power plant, across Albany Street from the main part of the medical center.

The hospital's plans also call for building out space in the Collamore/Old Evans building at the corner of East Newton Street and Harrison Avenue to house up to 30 homeless patients with complex medical, substance-abuse and psychiatric needs, and that

COVID-19 pandemic has shown the full depth of disparities on BMC’s patient population. It has made housing instability and homelessness worse; housing interventions are necessary to correct this.

BMC says a pilot program showed that providing them with housing coupled with "complex coordinated care management" dramatically reduces their need for hospital care and results in better health outcomes for them.

The hospital's plan also includes a phased increase in the number of overall beds, including an increase in the number of single-patient rooms, but this will be done by reusing existing space rather than through new construction. The hospital says that even before Covid-19 hit, the occupancy rate for its 514 beds was at 90%. BMC says that in 2010, it had 626 in-patient beds, a number it reduced in part because of what turned out to be a temporary decline in demand and in part to increase the number of single-patient rooms.

The first is to accommodate approximately 69 single bed rooms with the addition of Yawkey 6th floor within two-years; this will allow the decoupling of existing 52 adult medical/surgical double bed rooms with a minor net new increase of 17 beds. The second is to construct the vertical addition to Menino 9th floor to achieve approximately an additional 48 single bed rooms within five-years. If the inpatient volume continues to grow, the long-term plan will include the approved New Inpatient Building Phase 2. This approved building may also be constructed in phases to accommodate approximately an additional 280 to 330 single bed rooms towards the end of ten-years and beyond. BMC will retain existing double bed rooms to handle surge capacity in response to pandemics like COVID-19.

BMC institutional master plan (96M PDF).
Appendix (more details, 137M PDF).

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Comments

For what it's worth, supplanted IMPs are filled with unpursued projects. The city requires certain large institutions to maintain these 10 year capital project plans and the building that you said today you would build 9 years from now may not be the building you actually want or need in 9 years.

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