CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Willimansett Center East in Chicopee shut its doors for good Wednesday. It’s the first of four owned by Northeast Health Group slated to close.
Chicopee Mayor John Vieau said the facility was down to just one resident. He was told by the director all residents left voluntarily.
Staff said their goodbyes as Willimansett Center East shut down. Northeast Health Group plans to dissolve because of a state regulation limiting the number of residents per room.
“They all received care with in 25 miles and those who chose to go further than 25 miles, it was because of family reasons. So they’ve all done it voluntarily, no one was forced but it’s disheartening and sad,” said Mayor Vieau
However, Brianna Zimmerman with Stavros Center for Independent Living said she filed a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office, claiming some residents were pressured to leave before the 120 days required by the state. She said it would be difficult for that many residents to be able to find a new facility in under 50 days.
“The closure plan states there will counseling, there will be preparation to make sure people are properly placed,” said Zimmerman. “We are concerned that that might not have happened.”
Vieau said he was told by the director of Willimansett Center West there are now seven residents left in that building. It’s unclear when the other three facilities owned by Northeast Health Group will close or how many residents are left overall. However, on Friday the state’s Department of Public Health approved the closure date for June 6th.