COVID-19 testing and other resources for community care made possible by recent funding
NEW Health, a federally qualified health center and an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center, recognizes National Health Center Week. This year’s theme is “lighting the way for healthier communities today and in the future,” and NEW Health is doing just that with the work of its COVID-19 testing sites and health resources in Boston’s neighborhoods. Their work is made possible with support from Massachusetts State Representatives Aaron Michlewitz and Daniel Ryan, who are also recognized this week, as they have been instrumental in the establishment and continued operations of these testing sites.
This summer, NEW Health launched COVID-19 testing sites in Charlestown (15 Tufts Street in the Bunker Hill Housing Development) and the North End (30 North Bennet Street behind the Nazzaro Community Center) to allow for greater availability and convenience to all area residents and NEW Health patients, regardless of symptoms or insurance.
Aaron Michlewitz, Mass. State Representative and House Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has been a major force in securing COVID-19 funding for NEW Health. Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a $1 billion supplemental budget bill for COVID-19 expenses and to prepare health systems for a second wave. It will result in no net cost to the Commonwealth after anticipated federal reimbursement. Rep. Michlewitz, with support from Rep. Daniel Ryan, ensured $500,000 in funding was included and designated to NEW Health’s two testing sites so that they can continue to operate for the foreseeable future. The testing tent in Charlestown was destroyed during a storm in June, causing a brief disruption in testing. This new funding has allowed for a new and sturdier tent, as well as a hexapod that provides an extra level of protection for both testers and patients.
“NEW Health has been a fixture in my life since I was a child, as my father was once a doctor at the North End location. It’s been especially meaningful to see how the health center continues to improve the quality of health and life for the residents of Boston, especially with these critically-needed testing sites,” said Rep. Michlewitz.
“It is important to shine a light on our health centers and their impact in the community, especially at this time,” said Rep. Ryan. “I’ve been an avid supporter of NEW Health and its Charlestown location since its opening five years ago. Staff across the board are amazing and have been working particularly hard over these last few months to keep Boston residents healthy and safe.”
The North End testing site is open Tuesday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and the Charlestown site is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Health center staff are there rain or shine for assistance and telehealth visits are conducted prior to the onsite visit. All major health insurance providers are accepted and the test will still be provided for free to those without insurance. Appointments can be made by calling 617-643-8000 for the North End location and 857-238-1100 for the Charlestown location. The staff has also been conducting contact tracing.
In addition to COVID-19 testing, the health center has increased its food insecurity efforts. Patients being tested who indicate they are unable to purchase necessary groceries also receive supermarket gift certificates. With support from the community and staff fundraisers, NEW Health has provided approximately $7,000 in grocery store gift certificates to-date via the testing sites and to local elementary schools, the Eliot School and Harvard-Kent School.
NEW Health locations in the North End and Charlestown are also accepting new patients and provide services in departments including Adult Primary Care, Pediatrics and Adolescent Primary Care, Behavioral Health, Dental Care, Vision, Podiatry, Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN), Radiology, and Lab. Staff continue to follow strict guidelines and cleaning protocols to guarantee a safe environment for patients to receive care.
About NEW Health
As a federally qualified health center and an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Medical Center, North End Waterfront Health (NEW Health) extends its world-renowned healthcare services to people who live and work in and around Boston’s North End, Waterfront and Charlestown neighborhoods. NEW Health is committed to improving the quality of health and life for those it serves by providing high quality health care that is consumer oriented, culturally appropriate, neighborhood-based, affordable, and produces positive outcomes.
NEW Health has been serving the North End of Boston and the surrounding community since 1971. In addition to primary care services for all patients, many specialty services are also offered including dental, vision, behavioral health, obstetrics, gynecology, laboratory services and x-ray services. NEW Health is a private, non-profit corporation that is governed by a community-based Board of Directors and licensed by the Department of Public Health. More information at www.newhealthcenter.org, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.