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Boston braces itself for the Democratic National Convention (DNC),
which rolls into town July 26 to 29, hospitals in and around the
Longwood Medical Area (LMA), including Children’s Hospital
Boston, are preparing for impacts to patients, families and employees.
Children’s has convened a DNC planning committee to look
at several issues that may arise from the four-day national political
conference. “It’s likely that most patient families
and employees will be affected by the upcoming convention,”
says Patricia Hickey, RN, MS, MBA, vice president
of Cardiovascular and Critical Care Services, who is on the committee.
“However, the hospital has extensive planning efforts in place
and will remain open and operational throughout the DNC.”
Traveling to and from the LMA is anticipated to be the biggest
challenge during the DNC, so, Children’s has been working
on a number of commuting options for patients, families and employees.
The Parking and Transportation Office is collaborating with the
Medical Academic and
Scientific Community Organization, Inc. (MASCO) and the Massachusetts
Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to gather
up-to-date information regarding road closures and public transportation
changes affecting the LMA. As an alternative for employees who typically
drive to the hospital, Parking and Transportation has also procured
three-day and multi-ride MBTA passes, as well as single-ride tokens
for staff to purchase should they decide to use public transportation
during the DNC.
“The convention will cause a lot of extra traffic that will
affect all forms of travel, from the T to the roadways,” says
Susan Richelson, director of Parking and Transportation.
“We’re doing everything we can to help make commuting
as stress-free as possible for patient families and our employees.”
Should traveling to the hospital not be feasible, Patient Services
and the Center for Families are teaming up with Emmanuel College
to offer lodging options during the convention. A block of 50 dorm
rooms will be available at a cost of $25 per night to families and
at no cost to staff. Employees should contact Lisa Kendrick
in Patient Services at ext. 5-6048 to reserve rooms.
For patient family rooms, staff should call Cynthia Levin,
in the Center for Families
at ext. 5-6134. “For patient families and employees who just
can’t battle the traffic problems from the DNC, our partnership
with Emmanuel College will provide another option,” says Levin.
Children’s has developed a Web
page to provide the latest travel information and commuting
alternatives—including road closures, public transportation
changes, area maps and lodging options. It can be accessed via links
on the hospital’s internal and external Web sites. Information
will also be available in handout form at the reception desk in
the main lobby of the hospital. Staff can obtain handouts on shuttle
buses and at shuttle stops as well.
“The DNC will create some interesting challenges for the
hospital,” says Gary Vassar, director of
Human Resources. “We feel convention week is best viewed as
a major snowstorm—an inconvenience but eminently manageable
if we plan carefully and well ahead.”