By John Lynds
Winthrop resident Maureen Gill had been going to the same doctor for over 40 years, but was curious of the new health center being built on Main Street a few doors up from Belle Isle Seafood.
“I waited and I watched as they were building the new clinic,” said Gill of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center’s *EBNHC) Winthrop Neighborhood Health Center (WNHC) that opened last August. “Once they opened my daughter (Lisa Gill Howard) and her family started going there, and she kept telling me, ‘ma, you got to go there and check it out.”
Gill said it’s not easy at her age to make a huge change like switching primary care physicians. However, an emergency gall-bladder surgery helped give her the extra push.
“That’s when I made the decision and I’m so happy I did,” said Gill. “My first visit and my first experience at the Winthrop Neighborhood Health Center was pleasant. They have everything you could possibly need. I can go to the dermatologist there or the podiatrist. I find that not only is it convent, but the nurses and doctors and staff spend time with you and they are just so nice. Every time I go in they tray you like family, ask how my daughter and grandkids are, the girls behind the check in desks are sweethearts. They are just so thorough each and every time I’m in there. I couldn’t be happier.”
Seeing the need to expand primary care and make life a bit easier for Winthrop, Revere and some East Boston resident and families that had to travel down to the Health Center’s Gove Street or Maverick Square locations, EBNHC decided to expand with a new health center.
“We are so happy to have completed our first year of service at Winthrop Neighborhood Health,” said EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes. “Our Family Medicine Primary Care Practice has been pretty busy and we just added a new doctor so that there is more capacity. We are seeing many children, adults and older adult patients from Winthrop, but also many from Orient Heights and Revere are finding it more convenient. We’ve even had a couple of patients this summer come to us from their boat.”
The full-service health center that offers a numerous services from dermatology to adult medicine to sick visits, but has an emphasis on family medicine.
According to WNHC’s full time physician Dr. Mothusi Chilume, who began working at the Health Center at the beginning of November, said what makes the clinic unique is that while there’s no head doctor there are four providers on rotation, specialists that come in weekly and hold appointments as well as physical therapists. Dr. Chilume said WNHC is becoming a convent choice for people in Winthrop as more and more private practices close down in the town and patients are looking for a new home.
Since arriving, Dr. Chilume has been seeing patients of all ages for prenatal checkups, to small children for their regular checkups and senior patients like Gill.
“It’s a very convenient system. We do not book our schedules two months in advance,” he said. “We keep our schedules open so we can see patients on the day that they call to be seen. Patients can pick me as their primary care physician, and because Ii’m new, my panel is pretty open. But we really like to keep our schedules open for the times when a patient was seen at an emergency room and needs to follow up with us or there’s a sick visit.”