Boston Medical Center

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Boston Medical Center
Boston Medical Center logo.svg
Boston University Medical Center.jpg
Moakley Building from Harrison Avenue
Location Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Coordinates 42°20′06″N 71°04′25″W / 42.3349°N 71.0735°W / 42.3349; -71.0735Coordinates: 42°20′06″N 71°04′25″W / 42.3349°N 71.0735°W / 42.3349; -71.0735
Care system Private, Medicare, Medicaid
Hospital type Teaching
Affiliated university Boston University
Emergency department Level I trauma center
Beds 496
Founded 1855
Lists Hospitals in Massachusetts
Boston City Hospital, shown here in a 1903 photo, was one of the two institutions which merged in 1996 to form Boston Medical Center.

Boston Medical Center (BMC) is a non-profit 496-bed academic medical center in Boston, Massachusetts. It has the largest 24-hour Level I trauma center in New England, and the Emergency Department had 128,231 visits in FY2011. Boston Medical Center is the largest safety-net hospital in New England.

BMC employs more than 1,240 in-house physicians — including 832 residents and fellows — and 1,505 nurses. BMC is the primary teaching affiliate of the Boston University School of Medicine.

BMC was created by the formal merger of Boston City Hospital (BCH) which was the first municipal hospital in the United States and Boston University Medical Center Hospital (BUMCH) in July 1996 which was sponsored at founding by the Methodists and then by Boston University. BCH was founded in 1855, and BUMCH in 1864. BMC has enjoyed recent rapid expansion with the Shapiro Ambulatory Care Center, the Moakley Cancer Center, and many other clinical centers of excellence and research centers.

Teaching and affiliations[edit]

Boston Medical Center is the principal teaching affiliate of Boston University School of Medicine. Every member of the hospital’s medical and dental staff holds an academic appointment at the Boston University School of Medicine or at the Goldman School of Dental Medicine. Boston Medical Center operates 85 residency training programs with more than 832 resident and fellowship positions.


Boston Medical Center received more than $137 million in sponsored research funding in FY2011, and oversees 574 research and service projects separate from research activities at Boston University School of Medicine. The researchers at Boston Medical Center conduct both basic, laboratory-based biomedical research, and clinical research programs, including the Sickle Cell Center, infectious disease, cardiology, vascular biology, Parkinson's Disease, geriatrics, endocrinology and hematology/oncology.

The Framingham Heart Study, a longitudinal study of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in collaboration with staff who are faculty at the Boston University School of Medicine, has helped obtained much of our current knowledge about heart disease.[1]

The Amyloidosis Center at Boston Medical Center is known internationally as a leader in basic and clinical research on amyloidosis. Notably, they pioneered the use of high dose Chemotherapy and Stem cell transplantation for patients with AL amyloidosis.[2]

Firsts at Boston Medical Center[edit]

1866 Dr. David Cheever at BCH performs first esophagectomy in the U.S.
1873 New England Female Medical College joins Boston University School of Medicine to become the first co-ed medical school in the U.S.
1889 Dr. Francis Watson performs the first total prostatectomy in the U.S.
1895 BCH opens first separate facility for the treatment of infectious diseases in the U.S.
1897 Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller, the nation’s first black psychiatrist, graduates from Boston University School of Medicine and becomes a faculty member
1898 Dr. J H Williams at BCH is first to experiment on the radiological examination of the gastrointestinal tract
1903 Dr. William Rollins performs first radiation treatment for skin lesions in the U.S.
1911 Dr. Frank Mallory demonstrated the hyaline changes seen in alcoholic cirrhosis now named Mallory bodies
1923 Thorndike Laboratory is dedicated and the first general clinical research facility in Boston and in a U.S. municipal hospital begins.
1932 Dr. M B Strauss showed that thiamine could cure alcoholic neuropathy despite continued alcohol use
1933 Pathology building dedicated in honor of Dr. Frank Mallory who worked on diseases of the liver and for whom Mallory bodies and Mallory-Weiss tears were named
1934 Nobel Prize in Physiology of Medicine awarded to Dr. Minot, Director of the Thorndike Laboratory, for the treatment of pernicious anemia
1938 Dr. Prinzmetal, staff Cardiologist at BCH and credited with describing variant angina, described evolutionary changes on EKG of an acute myocardial infarction
1942 Dr. Franz Ingelfinger established the specialty of gastroenterology and heads the first section of Gastroenterology in the U.S.
1944 Dr. Chester Keefer and Dr. Maxwell Finland at BCH did the first studies on the use of penicillin in civilians with infectious diseases determining doses, routes of administration, and length of treatment
1948 Boston University School of Medicine physicians work with the U.S. Public Health Service of the NHLBI to develop what later becomes known as the Framingham Heart Study. The affiliation continues to the current day.
1955 Dr. Allan Erslav first identified erythropoetin at the Thorndike Laboratory
1970 Dr. Robert Valeri developed techniques to freeze red blood cells and platelets for long-term storage and use on the battlefield
1977 Dr. Haralambos Gavras introduced captopril for the treatment of hypertension; also were first to investigate ACE-inhibitors to treat congestive heart failure
1980 Dr. Thomas Ryan and Dr. David Faxon in Cardiology were integral to clinical trials evaluating the long-term results of coronary artery surgery and the value of angioplasty and of thrombolytic therapy
1996 Boston City Hospital and University Hospital merge. The combined Department of Medicine includes over 500 faculty and research personnel. Combined Federal and Grant Support increases to make the Boston University Medical Center Department of Medicine one of the top 10 funded Departments in the United States.


Patient care[edit]

Boston Medical Center provides a comprehensive range of inpatient, clinical and diagnostic services in more than 70 areas of medical specialties and subspecialties, including cardiac care and surgery, hypertension, neurological care, orthopedics, geriatrics and Women’s health.

Number of Beds 496
Medicine/Surgery beds 332
Obstetrics/Gynecology beds 39
Intensive and Coronary Care beds 74
Neonatal Intensive Care beds 15
Pediatric Intensive Care beds 6
Pediatric beds 30

Areas of excellence[4]

  • The Center for HIV/AIDS Care and Research at BMC is the largest in New England.
  • BMC is one of the only two centers in the country to treat all forms of amyloidosis. BMC is an international referral center for this disease, and is rated number one in the world for bone marrow transplants to treat this disease.
  • Enrollment of newly diagnosed cancer patients for Cancer Clinical Trials at BMC is 300% higher than the national average. 39% are minorities, exceeding the national average of 17%
  • BMC is the only hospital in Massachusetts to be designated by the American Parkinson’s Disease Association as an Advanced Center of Research.
  • BMC is the busiest 24-hour Level 1 Trauma Center in New England.
  • The BMC Scleroderma Center, the largest in New England, is recognized internationally, and is one of only six centers in the country involved in research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Supporting services[edit]

The hospital has many services, extending beyond traditional medical procedures. With its long history of serving the low-income population, the hospital has programs that include:[5]

  • A food pantry against which doctors can write prescriptions for undernourished patients
  • Home visits to ensure patients and their families are following care instructions, and to identify problems at home which may lead to medical conditions
  • Lawyers on staff to help people navigate government assistance programs, and to deal with landlords who maintain unhealthy conditions
  • Special counseling and asylum assistance for victims of torture and political persecution
  • Training for first responders dealing with children who have witnessed violence
  • Pediatricians giving books to families with children to promote reading

The hospital offers the most extensive interpreter services program in New England. In addition to providing person-to-person interpreters on-site in more than 22 languages, 24-hours-a-day, the department utilizes the latest advances in technology such as telephonic and video interpreting. In FY2011, interpreter services assisted in more than 178,094 interactions with patients and visitors.

Boston Medical Center also offers numerous outreach programs and services, including skin cancer screenings, cholesterol tests, blood pressure screenings, prostate cancer screenings, osteoporosis screenings, eye exams, smoking cessation counseling and flu shots. In addition, cancer education and prevention seminars are offered in the community, and youth outreach workers are trained for involvement in schools and health fairs.

Boston Medical Center (BMC) HealthNet Plan[edit]

Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan is a not-for-profit health maintenance organization founded by Boston Medical Center in 1997. The Plan serves 240,000 members across Massachusetts through three product lines—MassHealth (Medicaid), Commonwealth Care and commercial—and is the largest Medicaid health plan in the state. BMC HealthNet plan earned the #3 rank among Medicaid plans in the nation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in its Medicaid Health Insurance Plan Rankings, 2011–2012. Comprehensive coverage for hospital, primary, specialty and behavioral health care are among the benefits and services provided. The Plan also offers extras beyond traditional benefits; all members receive discounts on Weight Watchers® and fitness club memberships plus access to a 24/7 Nurse Advice Line. In addition, MassHealth members receive free car safety seats and bike helmets for kids and manual breast pumps for nursing mothers. BMC HealthNet Plan also operates Well Sense Health Plan, a Medicaid plain in New Hampshire.


Boston Medical Center employs 5,079 full-time equivalent employees, consisting of more than 1,240 in-house physicians — including 832 residents and fellows — and 1,505 nurses. Boston Medical Center also incorporates the ambulance service Eascare (headquartered in Dorchester) into their operation to transport patients from one campus to another.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^
  5. ^ Boston Medical Center Documentary (from the WBUR Newsroom)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]