Boston City Council Updates

The Boston City Council last met on Wednesday, March 7 at Boston City Hall. The following items were disussed:

Appointees to Community Preservation Committee

The Community Preservation Committee oversees how Community Preservation Act funds will be allocated throughout the City of Boston. The Council already appointed four members to the committee this past December.

Mayor Martin Walsh made the following appointments:

Felicia Jacques, of the Boston Landmarks Commission until 2020

Carol Downs, of the Boston Planning and Development Agency until 2020

William Epperson from the Parks and Recreation as a member until 2021

John Sullivan from the Boston Conservation Committee until 2019

Kathryn Bennett of the Boston Housing Authority until 2019

Flynn appointed to Groundwater Trust

President Andrea Campbell appointed Councilor Ed Flynn to the Boston Groundwater Trust as ex officio representative of the City Council.

Collective Bargaining

The Boston City Council voted to authorize funding the recently settled collective bargaining agreements between the City of Boston and Service Employees International Union (SEIU0, Local 888. This would include base wage increases of two percent effective the first pay period of January of each fiscal year and new steps beginning in July 2018.

Councilors call for hearing over hospital merger

Boston City Councilors Tim McCarthy and Ed Flynn announced this past week that they have called for a hearing regarding the proposed 13 hospital merger of Caregroup, Inc., the parent company of Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, and Lahey Health System. If approved, the merger would be the largest in the history of Massachusetts. Moreover, Beth Isral-Leahy Health would control 1 in 3 hospitals in eastern Massachusetts and become the biggest health provider in the region.

The Department of Public Health has recommended approval of this merger, while the Health Policy Commission and Attorney General’s office have yet to weigh in on the matter.

“In recent years, there was significant concern from state officials, anti-trust specialists and consumer advocates related to potential hospital mergers,” said Flynn. “Although this decision is under the purview of the Attorney General, the Department of Public Health and the Health Policy Commission, I believe it is our obligation as elected officials to allow the public to weigh in and share their concerns.”

Flynn said that he hopes this hearing will allow him to learn more about how this merger would impact Tufts Medical Center and community health centers in his district and their ability to provide access to health care for middle and low-income residents, as well as communities of color.

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