Boston Children's Hospital's $1B expansion receives final approval

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Public Health Council voted Oct. 20 to approve Boston Children's Hospital's proposal to begin construction on a $1 billion expansion project, according to WBUR radio.

Groups that opposed the expansion reportedly rallied outside the State House before the vote Thursday evening.

The expansion stirred opposition from a number of healthcare organizations after Massachusetts' Health Policy Commission released its cost report in September. The report found the expansion could raise healthcare spending in Massachusetts between $8.5 million and $18.1 million each year due to the reduction in market competition.

Smaller competing hospitals, as well as the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans, argued this would increase healthcare costs for patients and hurt other competing hospitals' business. 

Opponents also argued that in order to build the new facility, officials would have to demolish a healing garden gifted to the hospital roughly 60 years ago.

Boston Children's Hospital President and CEO Sandra Fenwick said the new building is necessary to create more space and for more patients to be admitted. She also said she recognizes the importance of the garden and that hospital officials plan to move elements of the garden to smaller green spaces around the hospital, according to the article.

The expansion will add 71 beds to the hospital's existing 404. It will also include a neonatal intensive care unit, a cardiac center and more operating rooms, according to the article.

The Public Health Council gave its preliminary approval of the plan earlier this month, with several conditions meant to ensure healthcare costs remain low.

The expanded facility is slated to open in 2020.

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