East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) celebrated the opening of a new Neighborhood PACE facility on the site of the old VFW building at 10 Garafolo St. with state and local officials on Thursday morning.
Manny Lopes, president and chief executive officer of EBNHC said, “I truly believe this is the best PACE facility in the country.”. The all-new, $12-million facility will enable older adults to stay healthy, active and independent in the places that they call home.
“Healthcare’s best keep secret is no longer a secret in Revere,” Lopes said.
Lopes gave credit to the late Dr. James Taylor who created the model for patient-centered care. Taylor’s photography is spread along the walls of the facility. Taylor is responsible for bringing the first PACE program in Massachusetts at the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center.
Laura Wagner, head of the PACE program, said PACE started with seven participants in May 1987. Today there are over 600 participants and 200 staff members.
On Thursday, she announced her retirement and introduced the new PACE head, Greg Wilmont.
Lopes said the PACE program was founded in San Francisco and after visiting the site, Taylor brought the program back to Massachusetts.
“Since then we’ve had a tremendous amount of support at the state and federal level,” Lopes said.
Congresswoman Kathryn Clark acknowledged Rita Sorrento, president of the Board of Directors of PACE for her work in this project.
“It’s the local partnership that really is critical to make a support these programs,” Clark said of the teamwork centered around PACE. “One of the things people can’t believe is that the PACE program is free to them and it should be. Investment in ourselves and investment in our neighbors is the very best investment we can make.”
Lopes said Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo has always been there for East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and its PACE program.
“Here’s an Italian proverb, at least I’m going to say it’s Italian, ‘He who enjoys good health is rich, “ DeLeo said. From what I know, this center and the people who work here are bringing that wealth of good health to this community,” continued DeLeo. “We are proud as a legislative body that make supporting health communities in our older adults amongst our top priorities.”
DeLeo said PACE provides a one-stop resource for individuals to get the high-quality, affordable and coordinated healthcare that they need and so justly deserve.
Lopes said Mayor Brian Arrigo approached him when he took office in January 2016, and asked if we were looking to build something in Revere and he wanted to help, both in locating a site and expediting the permitting process.
“It was less than a year ago that we broke ground,” Lopes said. “That shows you the speed and the support we have had from the mayor’s administration and city council.”
Arrigo thanked his team for working to make this possible.
“East Boston Neighborhood Health Center has been a tremendous partner for our community,” Arrigo said. “Having this great program and beautiful building in the City of Revere will be a tremendous benefit for our seniors.”
“There are now an East Boston Neighborhood Health Center PACE programs in all three communities I represent,” said State Sen. Joe Boncore. “EBNHC is a leader and model for health care centers all across the nation.”
Lopes said he has known State Rep. Roselee Vincent before she was a state representative. The two served on a commission together and were having a conversation about when EBNHC was coming to Revere.
“I had a rendering of a building and she quickly snagged it away from me and said this is my city and we need you here,” Lopes said.
“I look at this building and I am so proud. When you see people taking an interest in our city and bringing a facility like this to Revere. It’s truly heartwarming,” Vincent said. “The reason why we are here is because of our seniors. Enabling seniors to receive the critical care they need so they can remain independently in their homes is probably the most wonderful gift you can give to a senior.
EBNHC obtained the current property from the VFW, and built the new 15,500 sq. ft. building with Wise Construction of Winchester. The facilities great room has a wall of windows overlooking the marsh.