Steeling itself for upcoming federal and state cutbacks, Boston Medical Center is now considering plans to shutter its East Newton Street campus — an artifact of when the former Boston City Hospital merged with the nearby University Hospital in 1996. Combined with efforts to provide more care in outpatient settings, however, this decision could be a pragmatic, strategic one that will shore up the hospital’s future.
It’s a time of great fiscal uncertainty for the nation’s safety net hospitals. Caring for a larger share of uninsured patients than competitors, such providers will gain a new source of revenue under the Affordable Care Act as millions gain coverage. At the same time, however, the law’s mandatory spending cuts for Medicare and Medicaid are a significant hurdle for the medical centers, which tend to operate with minuscule profit margins.