PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – The medical community and the people it serves in Palmer were given a chance to voice their concerns about Baystate Health’s plans to close the ICU at Baystate Wing Hospital.
Donna Kelly-Williams is the president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. She worries that smaller towns like Palmer are losing vital health services.
Baystate Health announced last month that it’s planning to close the intensive care units at Baystate Wing in Palmer and Baystate Noble in Westfield. Six ICU beds at each.
“We’re taking a patient that’s critically ill from a facility that could provide that care, to another facility with that level of care,” said Kelly-Williams. “So, it really doesn’t make a lot of sense.”
Kelly-Williams said care should be given in the community where it’s needed. Meaghan Jianaces agrees. She grew up in Palmer and now she’s raising her three children here.
“You want to be able to go 5 minutes down the road, 10 minutes down the road,” said Jianaces.
“If someone is in a mental health crisis and is hospitalized for the crisis, having that close to home is essential to their recovery,” said Kelly-Williams.
Baystate is also moving behavioral health services out of Baystate Franklin, Noble, and Wing. They’ll eventually be integrated into Baystate’s new Behavioral Health Hospital being built in Holyoke.
Baystate Health is committed to serving our community and the increasing needs for care for individuals facing behavioral health and substance use challenges.Baystate Health
As for the ICU’s at Wing and Noble, the Nurses Association is hoping the Department of Health declares them as essential services, forcing Baystate to implement a plan to keep them open.
The State Health Department is holding another hearing on Wednesday night at the Westfield Middle School. This one concerning Baystate Noble.
It begins at 4 p.m.