Health Justice for Boston ~ Number 15. March 2015
RoxComp Questions Persist - Demand Justice
The last public meeting on the fate of the Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center took place on-site there on October 29th. Besides a presentation by the leading contender for the property, Bridge Boston Charter School, many former workers came to bring forward their just demands for back pay. Nothing could or would be done about that until the sale went through, and then they were in line with other creditors.
On March 11th, the Boston Globe reported that the “health center had stopped reimbursing the state for workers’ unemployment benefits in 2010, when the center was still operational and businessman Ronald L. Walker II - now the state labor secretary - was president of its board … Walker, chairman of RoxComp’s board for 12 years, stepped down 18 months before the closure. But the facility owed the state thousands of dollars in delinquent payments long before the shutdown.” That’s $700,000 in all owed the state for the workers’ unemployment benefits!
The sixth report of the court-appointed receiver Joseph Feaster was released on March 12th, summarizing efforts made thus far to sell off the center’s property and then settle its debts. When we approached Mr. Feaster at the end of that October meeting to inquire about the possibility for some health services being incorporated into the plans, his response was that Boston had many health centers.
Oh well, many health centers. Oh well, many hospitals. Oh well, too many programs and services? Readers of this newsletter know of all the cutbacks and closures we and our neighbors have suffered. Further cutbacks loom, with a major drop in federal funding for community health centers scheduled for this fall. We have too many questions about the lack of oversight and lack of concern for access to all the care that may actually be needed in this and other communities.
So come to the Mass-Care/Physicians for a National Health Program speak-out at the Harvard Medical School on Thursday evening, March 26th @ 6:00 PM. The floor will be yours! Tell us what’s wrong with health care access and delivery, and what needs to be done. You won’t be disappointed! It’s a short walk from the Green Line Longwood stop on Huntington Avenue. Parking is available in the garage across from Children’s Hospital. - Quentin Davis & Sandy Eaton
Demand Biolab Moratorium
On March 20th, CNN released a story entitled “CDC's 'inconsistent' lab practices threaten its credibility, report says.” We read, “A report on lab safety at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put together by a committee of external experts calls the agency's commitment to safety ‘inconsistent and insufficient.’ The report … also says ‘laboratory safety training is inadequate.’”
The CDC is also the watchdog for all other US biolabs. This article doesn’t say so, but we know that, if the watchdog cannot even police its own laboratories to maintain safety, then it is in no position to oversee safety at such institutions at Boston University, where many breaches in safety have been reported in recent years, and which is close to opening its Level 4 bioterror labs on Albany Street.
Therefore, the risk assessment currently in place must be reconsidered. A moratorium on opening and operating these labs must be put in place. The community cannot afford any lapses when the planet’s deadliest germs are being manipulated. - Sandy Eaton
No Boston Olympics
After due deliberation, Health Justice for Boston believes that the pursuit of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Boston will shunt needed resources away from health and human services, destroy working-class communities and threaten the environment. The benefits reaped by finance capital do not compensate for these damages.
What is Healthcare Justice?
- Access: Can you get the care you need?
- Affordability: Will you go bankrupt if you do?
- Quality: Will you survive your encounter?
- Equality: Do you meet special barriers to care?
For more information on health care as a right, not a commodity:
To navigate the current system:
Boston Mayor’s HealthLine @ 617-534-5050
Health Care For All - Massachusetts
Consumer Health HelpLine @ 800-272-4232
Massachusetts Health Connector
Customer Support @ 877-623-6765
For more information, contact: