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While Bronxites are slowly recovering from the pandemic and getting vaccinated, residents of Woodlawn received a bombshell last month that shocked the community.
On March 15, Boston Children’s Health Physicians announced that General Pediatrics in Woodlawn, 4350 Van Cortlandt Park E., would close on April 30. It has been there for about 15 years and as many as 200 families will now have new doctors.
Needless to say, this has angered many parents.
The nonprofit, Women of Woodlawn, held a rally on April 16, pleading for the office to be kept open. Kim Furletti, chairman of the organization, told the Bronx Times that moms and dads are upset and don’t believe this would happen.
“You’re playing with people’s lives here in the middle of the pandemic,” she said. “They don’t care about the Woodlawn community at all.”
According to Furletti, families were completely taken aback by this news and had no idea it was coming. She explained that this is a geographically isolated neighborhood with many people who don’t drive, so getting to the nearest pediatrician run by BCHP in Riverdale or Westchester is not easy.
“They are still trying to bring this story to the fore that concern is just minutes away,” she stressed. “Why would anyone want to follow them to a new location?”
Furletti contacted the offices of Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz and Senator Alessandra Biaggi who found that the facility’s lease expired on April 30 and the site was deemed unprofitable.
Dinowitz attended the meeting earlier this month and is disgusted that BCHP would close Woodlawn Pediatrics.
Join the #Woodlawn community and @womenofwoodlawn this morning to speak out against General Pediatrics closing at Woodlawn. I am discouraged by @BostonChildrens’ decision to close this office, which has provided such essential services to families in our community. pic.twitter.com/OQIItGyDZL
– Jeffrey Dinowitz (@JeffreyDinowitz) April 16, 2021
In April, the Women of Woodlawn launched a petition to save Woodlawn Pediatrics and it has collected more than 1,000 signatures so far.
“The location of this office, in an area with a higher percentage of uninsured residents (25%), as opposed to other areas served by Boston Children’s Health Physicians, begs the question of the true motives behind this shutdown,” said the company. petition. . “Sending this notification via email only, and only in English, in a community where not everyone speaks English or has Internet access, is a further disservice to patients. With about six weeks’ notice for both staff and families, many will be left without a provider on April 30th. This aggressive timeline is not enough to ensure that this community is properly cared for, especially during a global pandemic. “
Residents stressed why the facility should remain open.
This office has been looking after my children for 16 years with the utmost professionalism, love and attention, ”said Michelle Ely. “They are not only my pediatricians, but they are also our friends and a large part of this community. We need this office to stay open and enable these doctors to continue their great work of caring for our children. “
Katherine Burke noted her frustration with BHCP.
“Not only will my sister lose her child’s pediatrician, I think it’s a shame that this company would choose to give up caring for an underserved community and do it in such a way that many are left in the dark. groping, not knowing what happened to their child’s doctor, ”Burke said.
A BCHP spokesperson declined to say why Woodlawn is closing Pediatrics, but stressed that families will still have the ability to access care within its network of pediatricians.
“While it is never easy to close an office, this transition gives us the opportunity to integrate our teams so that we can strengthen organizational resources and patient care,” said the spokesperson. “We will continue to provide the highest quality family-centered care that you have come to expect from BCHP.”