The commonwealth of Massachusetts will temporarily reopen a decommissioned hospital in Boston to help increase capacity for COVID 19 patients and others seeking health care in the city, Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced March 26. Work is underway to prepare Newton Pavilion to handle up to 250 beds for a range of needs with a focus on supporting the city’s homeless population.
“We certainly view this as a critical step to helping the Commonwealth secure enough space and care for homeless individuals who become infected,” Baker said during a briefing.
The facility was shuttered in 2018 and purchased by the state for the purpose of relocating Shattuck Hospital to the site. The city chose to move Shattuck to a new updated facility on the Newton Pavilion site rather than execute extensive renovations that would be needed on the existing Shattuck location.
Under the plan for Newton Pavilion, the facility will be operated by a consortium of providers including Boston Medical Center, Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, various shelters in the city and the city’s COVID-19 response team.
A completion date was not announced for the project.
Baker said the facility will be used, as needed, for a range of care needs, including patients who test positive for COVID-19 or are awaiting test results.
“The facility will provide a safe, isolated place for people to stay and recover, if they don’t require hospitalization,” he added.
He said “acute care for sicker patients, including ICU care, can also be made available,” although it was not clear if those capabilities would be available at Newton Pavilion. The facility will also serve as a post-discharge facility for patients who are homeless.
Boston has been working to provide care solutions for its homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic, including announcing $2.5 million in grant to help support health care for the homeless.
“Over the course of the past several weeks, we’ve been working with the city of Boston on this issue,” Baker said. “They continue to stand up, identify and staff additional locations to service and support Boston’s homeless community.”