Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Care Centers – Frequently Asked Questions

The Southeastern Massachusetts Regional Care Centers, operating as Buttonwood Healthcare, Inc. with locations at 1123 Rockdale Avenue and 4586 Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford, MA, have been established through a partnership among the City of New Bedford, Southcoast Health System, and a newly formed not-for-profit entity affiliated with Brandon Woods of New Bedford.

The care centers are licensed as long-term care facilities for COVID-19 positive patients who do not need acute or intensive care. The purpose is to increase Southcoast Hospitals Group capacity to provide acute care in its three hospitals, Charlton Memorial Hospital, St. Luke’s Hospital and Tobey Hospital, by treating less severely ill COVID-19 patients in a medical facility equipped to provide the appropriate level of care for such patients.

Medical supervision is provided by Southcoast Health System, which will deploy a cohort of doctors and nurse practitioners to care for patients and serve as medical directors.

Q. Who owns the facilities?
A. The care centers are leased by the City of New Bedford.

Q. Who qualifies to be a patient at the care centers?
A. Residents of Southcoast Health System’s coverage area diagnosed with COVID-19 whose symptoms do not indicate the need for intensive medical intervention. Patients will be discharged from one of Southcoast’s hospitals into the facilities and all patients will be COVID-19 positive.

Q. What are the admissions procedures?
A. Patients whose condition warrants admission into one of the care centers will be recommended in by an attending physician at one of Southcoast’s hospitals. The Centers’ medical director and clinical team will evaluate each patient’s condition and establish a care plan upon admission.

Q. Should I visit a care center for testing?
A. No. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider to be tested. Only a hospital physician can recommend you in to one of the care centers.

Q. What level of care will be provided?
A. The level of care is consistent with a high-quality long-term care or skilled nursing facility and will be staffed by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and certified nursing assistants, with medical supervision provided by physicians and staff from Southcoast Health System. Pulmonary and infectious disease specialists will be available to the centers.

Q. Do the Centers provide palliative care and hospice services?
A. Yes. When necessary, both palliative care and hospice services are available.

Q. Are visitors allowed into the facilities?
A. No. Visitation policies will mirror those in place at Southcoast Health’ hospitals.

Q. I live near one of the care centers. What can I expect to be the neighborhood impacts?
A. The level of activity will likely be lower than when the buildings were operating as skilled nursing facilities under the prior management, as there will be no visitation allowed.

Q. Should neighbors be concerned about an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 from patients and staff at the care centers?
A. No. Disease transmission requires much closer and more sustained contact with COVID-19 carriers than would transpire between neighbors and staff members and patients of the Centers.

Q. Is there on-site security?
A. Yes, there are security guards stationed there 24-7 as well as a camera system.

Q. Where can I get more information about the Centers?
A. Contact Dr. Ronnie Brownsworth, President, Southcoast Health Network at or Scott Nickerson, Executive Director at for more information.