SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Massachusetts Department of Public Health held a public hearing in Springfield Thursday night on the closing of Vibra Hospital.
More than 150 people will be out of a job when Vibra Hospital closes its doors on State Street in Springfield this March. Mental health professional Bernice Drumheller said the closing will mean losing 30 mental health beds that offer services which aren’t available anywhere else in western Massachusetts.
“This is the only hospital that takes patients for six months to a year,” Drumheller told 22News. “I’m really concerned for families who have to visit far away, because these people need a lot of love and support to get them through to recovery.”
The Department of Public Health hosted Thursday night’s meeting to address plans to close the hospital’s chronic care and behavioral health units. This is in addition to closing the hospital’s long term care unit.
Across all of the units, there are more than 100 patients who will be impacted by the closing.
The hospital’s CEO, Gregory Toot, said they will transition and relocate patients to other facilities. He explained that Vibra will work with local healthcare providers to hold job fairs for the more than 150 employees who will be out of a job when the hospital closes in March.
“Current changes in the healthcare environment, medicare and medicaid regulation, and sustaining operations in the current building have just made it not a viable program,” Toot told 22News.
The Department of Public Health said they will review the comments made in Thursday’s hearing and issue a response to the proposed closure within two weeks.
Vibra’s CEO said the hospital plans to close on March 29.