DPH Public Hearing on Proposed Closure of Quincy Emergency Department
Department of Public Health Hearing on the Proposed Closure of the Steward Satellite Emergency Facility – Quincy
Public Hearing: Tuesday, September 1, 2020, 6:00-9:00PM
Due to the current state of emergency, this hearing will be held on a moderated phone line:
Dial-in Number: 888-390-5007
Access Code: 1120470
MNA POSITION ON THE PROPOSED CLOSURE
- Closing Steward Healthcare’s Quincy satellite emergency department without finding a replacement location in Quincy would place patients, residents, and the city at great risk.
- The closure would also negatively impact Carney Hospital because the Quincy ED provides a significant number of admissions to the struggling Dorchester hospital.
- Quincy ED patients who require hospital admission have brought considerable revenue to Carney and, to a lesser extent, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton.
- Quincy is a large, diverse, and growing city that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
- With a population of 95,000 – up from 88,000 in 2000 – Quincy would be the largest city in Massachusetts without an emergency department if the ED closed.
- Quincy has substantial immigrant and low-income communities, which would be especially impacted by an ED closure that forced transportation to other areas of the city or other municipalities.
- Emergency departments are legally obligated to treat a patient regardless of their ability to pay, a standard neither urgent care centers nor surgical centers are held to.
- The Department of Public Health ruled in 2013 that Quincy Medical Center – and its emergency department – was an essential service which could not be replaced by alternative healthcare services.
- The MA Attorney General also demanded the ED remain in Quincy because its critical services could not be supplanted with other services.
- Steward Healthcare says in addition to its lease being cancelled by FoxRock, a drop in volume is contributing to its decision to close the ED. This is not borne out by the facts.
Steward is pointing to six months of data, largely during a global pandemic, and comparing it to the full year 2019 volume data.
- Potential patients have been staying away from EDs all over the state during the pandemic, especially during the Spring surge.
- Patients who believed they might have COVID 19 and needed hospitalization were NOT being brought to this satellite ED in Quincy, where there were no attached hospital beds.
- Instead, potential COVID-19 patients have presented directly to Carney Hospital, which was well publicized as the first all COVID-19 hospital, to SEMC or another acute care facility.
- There are significant numbers of mental health patients who rely on the Quincy ED. Steward acknowledges there were 5,000 mental health visits to the ED between January 2020 and May 2020. Many of those patients are boarded in the ED awaiting beds and cannot be cared for in urgent care centers.
- We always knew following the closure of Quincy Medical Center that this ED location was temporary. However, the ED is a necessary healthcare service for community members, and we urge Steward, DPH and community leaders to find an appropriate replacement location to continue ED operations in Quincy.