Boston Children’s to Proceed with $1 Billion Expansion

The Public Health Council approved the plan Thursday.

After months of back and forth, Boston Children’s Hospital has won approval for its $1 billion expansion plan.

The Massachusetts Public Health Council voted unanimously in favor of the project Thursday, green lighting an undertaking that will eventually add 71 beds, an 11-story tower, an ambulatory care center, four operating rooms, and two MRIs to the hospital’s campus. But it’s been a long road to get there.

A number of healthcare experts have voiced concerns that the project will drive up state healthcare spending, potentially to the tune of $18 million. New beds and services will draw patients away from other hospitals, they argue, and since Boston Children’s is among the most expensive pediatric care centers in the area, that may have an impact on healthcare costs.

Boston Children’s has countered those claims with estimates that most new patients would come from other states and countries. Nonetheless, the Public Health Council’s approval is contingent upon Boston Children’s meeting certain cost containment measures, in keeping with the Commonwealth’s annual goal of holding healthcare spending increases beneath 3.6 percent.

The hospital’s expansion will also build over the beloved Prouty Garden, an outdoor haven for patients and their families. That sparked outrage from the Friends of the Prouty Garden, who have bitterly protested the project and requested that building take place on a different site. The group is expected to appeal the Public Health Council’s decision.

While no timeline was defined in the hearing Thursday, state documents have noted that construction may not be complete until 2025.