On Sunday, flanked by East Boston Neighborhood Health CEO Manny Lopes, Councilor Lydia Edwards and Mattapan Community Health Center CEO Guale Valdez, U.S. Senator Ed Markey laid out priorities for the next round of coronavirus relief and called for $100 billion to be included for hospitals and community health centers in the next package outside the Health Center’s Maverick Square location.
“We have a crisis in our country that is continuing,” said Sen. Markey Sunday. “It is here that Manny and Guale and the medical personnel in East Boston and in Mattapan are fighting this disease on a daily basis. Community health centers are the lifeblood of thousands of neighborhoods, cities, and towns across the United States. They care for our most vulnerable communities, and they do so tirelessly, with compassion, creativity, and grace. This crisis is far from over, and our hospitals and health centers need more relief to continue testing, treating and controlling this disease.”
Markey pointed out that Eastie and Mattapan’s community health centers have been at the center of the communities’ response to the coronavirus pandemic, converting into testing and treatment centers overnight, launching mobile testing sites across the city, and distributing Wifi devices to residents to continue telehealth services throughout the crisis.
“The Coronavirus is largely affecting communities of color and it is these communities that are exposed to the disease in greater numbers as compared to the general public,” said Markey. “East Boston and Mattapan are the heart of essential workers who can not ‘ZOOM’ to work and run the risk of catching the disease and bringing it home to their families. This combined with the fact that they are in close proximity to pollution that causes higher rates of asthma that put them at higher risk of catching COVID and more vulnerable to respiratory illness.”
Since Markey has led efforts in the Senate in calling for protections for frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic, demanding the Trump administration provide all essential workers the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need. He is a co-sponsor of legislation to eliminate all out-of-pocket health expenses for every person in the United States during the pandemic. In the CARES Act, Senator Markey fought to include $150 billion for hospitals and community centers across the country.
“For the last fifty years, EBNHC has served East Boston and surrounding communities – this year has been one of the most difficult in our history. Our patient population continues to be disproportionately affected by this pandemic,” said Lopes. “EBNHC and community health centers have been at the forefront of this battle, fighting for the Commonwealth’s most at-risk. Health centers have been leading the way on testing, contact tracing, addressing food access, providing behavioral health support for our community members – oftentimes virtually, and distributing relevant educational materials… all while providing high-quality care for our patients who need it. Senator Markey has been a longtime friend and supporter of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. Back in March, as the pandemic began to take hold, Senator Markey stepped up to call on Congress to prioritize CHC funding and support. We cannot thank him enough for fighting for us, our patients, and the communities we serve.”