James Hollister, Director of Radiology, EBNHC

The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC), one of the largest health centers in the country, sees around 300,000 patients annually, provides over 20,000 x-ray exams and 3,200 mammograms each year, and fills over half a million prescriptions per year. Its busy 24/7 ER sees around 120 patients a day. A staff of approximately 800 accomplishes all of this.

But its prodigious clinical care output is only part of the story. The EBNHC is a unique facility in many other significant ways. For example, the organization sponsors many community outreach programs ranging from art shows and intergenerational get-togethers, to farmers market food fairs. Also included are programs such as “Baby Safe Haven” (a last resort to legally surrender a newborn infant 7 days old or younger at a hospital, police station, or manned fire station without criminal prosecution) and their Education and Training Institute is running a program to train young people to become certified nurse’s assistants. This project is a collaboration among three organizations: EBNHC, Maverick Landing Community Services, and Bunker Hill Community College.

According to James Hollister, director of radiology at EBNHC, who joined the organization in 2010, “The population we serve is culturally diverse, sometimes disadvantaged economically or medically underserved, and geographically isolated from major health care entities. We turn no one away because of age, income, insurance status, language, culture, or social circumstances.”

What is more, EBNHC continues to grow with new facilities opening in nearby Winthrop and other surrounding communities. The new Winthrop facility will provide primary care to a community that has seen a decrease in providers and has struggled to obtain adequate access to medical care. “We are excited to be starting work on this project, which will provide a much-needed and much-anticipated solution to a physician shortage in the town,” said Jack Cradock, president and CEO of EBNHC. “We are grateful for the support we have received from the community, support that has helped to make this project a reality, and for the cooperation of local officials in the planning and permitting of the project.”

“This new facility will not only increase primary care accessibility for Winthrop residents, but it will also serve as a catalyst for economic activity in Winthrop Center,” said State Senator Anthony Petruccelli (D-Boston).

Construction of the facility will be completed by early 2012. The restored building, a long-vacant, circa 1929, anchor block in the Winthrop town center, will house the new 7,400-square-foot health center. The center will provide primary care to adults and children, and will be fully integrated with the EBNHC’s flagship location in East Boston. The new, state-of-the-art facility will include examination rooms as well as a lab for point-of-care testing. The structure will also include 3,000 square feet of retail space that will be subdivided into three stores, bringing the total size of the building to 10,400 square feet.

“I strongly feel that the atmosphere, the level of professionalism, and real concentration on patient care and services at the health center are the best I’ve ever seen,” said Hollister. “Our executive team’s commitment to the vision and mission of the center is outstanding.”

In order to keep giving top of the line treatment to all its neighborhood patients, EBNHC has recently invested heavily in new equipment. “In 2010/2011, we transitioned from an all film environment to an all digital environment, purchasing top of the line GE DR systems (GE Discovery 650 and Optima 640), GE Digital Mammography, GE ultrasound, and Amicas PACS,” said Hollister. “We also partner with Boston Medical Center to read our images and maximize our productivity. I feel that we are giving world class radiologic care to the local neighborhood patients.”

In order to increase productivity, EBNHC is breaking apart departmental barriers to ensure top-notch quality among their technologists. “We are piloting a program in which overnight radiologic technologists also are cross-trained in the lab, and are able to perform routine diagnostic tests for the emergency department, which greatly assists the overnight nursing staff,” said Hollister. “We also have programs in many areas including housing and elder care. Our consistent devotion to our community is what makes us special.”