AOC sends letter to Montefiore about Fordham Plaza relocation, requests formal plan from administrators

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U.S Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has sent a letter to Montefiore administrators asking for answers as to the plan consolidation of services within the Bronx.
Photo courtesy Getty Images

Montefiore Medical Center said that the planned fall relocation of its Grand Concourse practice to Fordham Plaza ⁠ — and a supplemental move of its family and social medicine providers from Fordham Plaza to a much smaller Williamsbridge location — is due to aging infrastructure and difficulties with the 2532 Grand Concourse landlord, which houses the primary care facility.

While Montefiore does not anticipate an interruption in services or loss of jobs due to the Grand Concourse practice’s relocation, residents and providers in the area told the Bronx Times they felt blindsided by the news, which made the rounds this summer.

Now U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is seeking answers from Montefiore administrators detailing concrete plans on how they will accommodate the consolidation of services and the downsizing of primary care buildings in the borough — from three to two.

AOC sent a letter to Montefiore officials on Sept. 26 — with a request that they respond within 20 days of receipt — and a spokesperson for the congressmember told the Bronx Times that they have heard concerns about transparency from the health network from her constituents.

“Given the importance of Montefiore in the Bronx, several of my constituents have approached my office with several concerns,” said Ocasio-Cortez, who represents the 14th Congressional District. We share their concern that transferring this education program from a large center to an already overpopulated smaller center may put the program managers at odds with standards for residency and fellowship programs.”

In July, Montefiore Health System administrators told staff in a closed-doors meeting about the plans, which received internal pushback, according to meeting attendees confirmed with the Bronx Times.

To accommodate the fall relocation, Montefiore officials said they will offer free shuttle services from its 400,000-square-foot Fordham Plaza location to its 19,600-square-foot Williamsbridge location, where the health system’s family and social medicine trainees will be integrated.

Bronx Times reached out to Montefiore officials regarding AOC’s letter and is still awaiting comment.

The relocation of the Grand Concourse practice, Montefiore officials said, will enhance access and availability of care at their Fordham location despite estimates of a 2-mile commute for Grand Concourse patients.

In the letter, AOC noted that as a federally qualified health center, the Fordham Plaza location’s Family Health Center is subject to provisions within the Public Health Services Act to ensure any federal grants to health centers are disbursed to meet the needs of high poverty and medically underserved communities.

Roughly 28.3% of District 4, which includes the Concourse area, is under the federal poverty line. Additionally, the district faces significant challenges when it comes to health outcomes and needs.

Montefiore Medical Center’s health system consists of 15 hospitals as well as a primary and specialty care network of more than 180 locations across Westchester County, the Lower Hudson Valley and the Bronx.

Rumor and speculation that Montefiore is closing its Family Health Center — in addition to expanding its primary care and women’s health services into a state-of-the-art 10,000-square-foot office space in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, according to a recent Montefiore job listing ⁠— are a prime concern for patients who believe the Bronx will start losing key medical services from Montefiore in the months and years ahead.

When the Bronx Times asked Montefiore officials in August if there are plans in place to close the Family Health Center, Montefiore officials denied such plans.

“The Family Health Center is not closing and will continue to offer its full complement of health care services to the community including primary care, family planning, addiction medicine and HIV care,” said Dr. Andrew Racine, Montefiore Medical System’s senior vice president and chief medical officer.

Reach Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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