State Says Early Closure of Providence Behavioral Health Pediatric Unit Endangers Closure Plan for Next Week in Holyoke
HOLYOKE – State regulators say Mercy Medical Center has closed the 24-bed child and youth unit in Providence Behavioral Health in Holyoke in May, a month before its scheduled shutdown on Tuesday, June 30, and while it was developing a closure plan with the Ministry of Public Health.
“The Department is concerned that the hospital will shut down such a unit nine days before submitting a plan indicating that patients treated in this unit would continue to receive care at the Providence Behavioral Health hospital until June 30, 2020”, said the Department of Public Health. wrote to Mercy Medical Center earlier this month.
Mercy Medical Center has until Saturday, June 27, just days before the scheduled closure, to respond, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Mercy Medical Center and its parent, Trinity Health, plan to close all inpatient psychiatric beds in Providence on Tuesday. These 74 beds include the two dozen beds reserved for children and adolescents. These are the only pediatric hospital beds dedicated to psychiatry in the region. The move results in 202 layoffs.
Mercy’s plan to make up for lost service is to send people to Trinity-owned hospitals in Connecticut or other facilities elsewhere.
Parents and Families Said earlier this month at a rally to protest the shutdown that Providence has stopped accepting pediatric patients before the scheduled shutdown, a claim supported by the letter from the State Department of Public Health.
Of the 24 pediatric beds, 12 were in service until recently and 12 had been closed for more than a year.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association, one of the unions representing Providence employees, said Thursday there were no more children in the hospital now. There were two adult psychiatric patients and an older adult.
Members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, State Representative Aaron Vega, D-Holyoke and others plan to protest the scheduled 11am Monday shutdown outside the State House on Beacon Street in Boston.
U.S. Senator Ed Markey, who also spoke out against the closure in Holyoke, is also expected to attend.
Markey is running in a Democratic primary for the Senate against current US Representative Joseph Kennedy III.
Mercy and its owners, Trinity Health, have announced the closure of the aging facility as it has an average of just 39 patients in the 50-bed adult unit and just under seven patients on average in its remaining 12 pediatric beds. .
As of July 1, 2020, Providence Behavioral Health Hospital said it will not have a facility medical director and a total of six vacant psychiatric provider positions, management said in a letter to the State.
Mercy’s spokeswoman May K. Orr said Thursday that Providence Behavioral Health Hospital was still open and inpatient psychiatric services would be available until June 30.
“We assess all admissions based on our ability to safely care for each patient, which includes daily staffing levels. We also continue to work with our partners and other facilities to ensure patients receive timely and appropriate care, ”she wrote.