EBNHC Looking Ahead With Excitement and Optimism

After a major announcement last week that East Boston Neighborhood Health Center will rebrand its health system as NeighborHealth, President and CEO Greg Wilmot said he is looking ahead with excitement and optimism about the future.

EBNHC currently operates nearly a dozen clinical sites throughout Greater Boston, including East Boston, Winthrop, Everett, Revere, and the South End. It serves approximately 120,000 people and has about 2,000 employees. EBNHC operates the fourth-busiest emergency department in the City of Boston, with more than 45,000 visits in 2023. “It’s a very busy place,” said Wilmot.

Rebrand to NeighborHealth begins in June.

“I think the rebrand does a few things,” said Wilmot. “It unifies our organization which has really grown to a multi-site, multi-community organization and it allows us to reflect that to our patients during their care journey with us,” said Wilmot. “It also works well for our staff, who may serve patients at one location or another, but we really wanted to make sure that everyone felt part of the same organization with the same values across our organization.”

Wilmot added that when EBNHC joined forces with the South End Community Health Center in 2020, “it was important for us to have a unified brand to avoid confusion, but also to make sure everyone felt connected to the same institution.”

Becoming a National Model and an Award-Winning Health Center

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center is the largest community-based primary care health system and community health center in Massachusetts and one of the largest in the United States.

“We find ourselves connecting with communities across the nation to talk about the work that we’ve done for many years,” said Wilmot.

One of the health center’s most recent achievements was being honored by the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) as one of the top-performing Federal Qualified Health Center in the nation, with specific recognition for its work in maternal and child health, where it received a gold badge for quality – earning EBNHC status in the top one percent of community health centers in that category. EBHNC also received a gold badge for its HIV treatment and care.

“Some of the ways we were able to achieve those national awards is based on the innovative model of care that we have here,” noted Wilmot. “I am proud of our continued accomplishments. What is true is that our health center is 55 years old. We’re born out of an acknowledgement and recognition of community-based access, and I’ve been privileged to continue to serve that mission. It is a mission that has been served by many. I’m the third CEO of this organization, but I feel like I’ve been handed the baton and just continuing to run a race that was started many, many years ago.”

Expanding Life Expectancies

On average today, people in the United States are living a lot longer.

“What’s really important is that people not just live longer, but that they live high quality lives as well,” said Wilmot. “We believe that families, especially our aging population, should have the opportunity to age in the community, which is important to improving quality of life, but also improving health outcomes ultimately. So, programs like PACE (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) are one of the ways that we support seniors.”

Addition of Behavioral Health Services at EBNHC

Last October, EBNHC introduced behavioral health urgent care services at its site at 10 Gove St. in East Boston where it shares a location with its emergency department.

“Those services are meant to allow patients who are having an urgent behavioral health issue to receive their care in an appropriate setting,” said Wilmot. “Often times, patients might go to an emergency department for that care, which isn’t a great place for behavioral health care services. So, we created this very unique access point to make sure that our patients could receive their care in a high-quality environment and receive treatment from behavioral health providers that are trained in emergency and urgent behavioral health care services. And then we connect those patients back to treatment in primary care.”

Active in Their Communities

Greg Wilmot, who stands a towering 6 feet, 6 inches, has become a highly visible and charismatic presence in the Greater Boston community. He is active in many organizations and causes and attends numerous events.

“I’m active in the community as are many members of our staff,” said Wilmot. “What’s really interesting about our organization is that 50 percent of our employees are residents of the communities we serve. Our new name, NeighborHealth, was a little bit of a nod to that, because we are, in fact, serving our neighbors. We live in the communities that we serve. It’s important that we maintain that deep connection to our communities.”

Future Growth and Expansion

EBHNC has become widely known for its excellence and being a national model in the healthcare industry. Many cities and towns in Massachusetts would welcome a health center as comprehensive and well established as the one founded in East Boston a half-century ago. For example, EBNHC opened a center for senior care in the City of Everett in 2023.

Wilmot said that EBNHC will “continue to grow to meet the needs of our communities.”

“If that means new services, new locations, we are here to serve, and based on our history, that has been something we have done, and I think it’s something we will continue to do,” said Wilmot. “I think our name change allows us to do that flexibly and engage with our new communities in an inclusive way.”

Asked about EBHNC’s record of success and accomplishments, Wilmot credited his staff. “We have 2,000 amazing staff members,” said Wilmot. “We have a great team of professionals that have a deep commitment to what we do, and that’s the thread that connects every person in this organization.”

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