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Nurses call for reopening of services amid UMass Memorial-Heywood affiliation talks

Massachusetts nurses' concerns about the closure of mental health and pediatric beds at Heywood Hospital were "intensified" by the May announcement that Worcester-based UMass Memorial Health and Heywood Healthcare are exploring an affiliation deal, the Massachusetts Nurses Association said May 6.

Nurses at Gardner, Mass.-based Heywood Hospital are represented by the union.

The bed closures happened without public input or community knowledge, and at least 12 adult mental health beds and a pediatric unit have closed at the hospital without public health department hearings, the union stated in a news release.

"We hope that if there is an eventual affiliation with UMass. It would mean a restoration of essential pediatric and mental health services that have quietly closed at Heywood in recent years," Paula Robichaud, RN, and Kim Fuller, co-chairs of the union, said in the news release. 

The union is asking Heywood Healthcare, also based in Gardner, to keep care local, reopen services and invest in recruitment and retention of staff.

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