Massachusetts behavioral health hospital to end inpatient psychiatric services, lay off 200 employees

Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke, Mass., plans to end inpatient psychiatric services for children, adults and geriatric patients, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports.

The decision will result in about 200 employees losing their jobs, and was due to "serious psychiatrist shortages," the hospital told the newspaper.

"Collaborative planning is underway to help patients access timely psychiatric care and to help affected colleagues transition to new opportunities, including a comprehensive job placement program," the hospital told the Gazette. "While licensed for 74 inpatient psychiatry beds, Providence Hospital has regularly operated at less than 60 beds over the past two years due to persistent provider shortages that have now become critical."

Inpatient psychiatric services are slated to end by June 30. Meanwhile, United Auto Workers Local 2322, which represents counselors, clinicians and aides at the hospital, is reportedly questioning the hospital's reasoning for its decision, and has expressed concerns about future access to mental health services. The Massachusetts Nurses Association, which also has members affected by the Providence cuts, has also expressed access concerns.

News of the cuts at Providence come as Holyoke Medical Center has proposed a new, standalone inpatient behavioral health facility. The medical center said March 2 that the new hospital would have about 100 beds, including 20 beds that already exist in the inpatient behavioral health unit at Holyoke Medical Center.

Providence Behavioral Health Hospital is part of Springfield, Mass.-based Mercy Medical Center, a member of Trinity Health of New England, a nonprofit clinically integrated network of hospitals in Connecticut and Massachusetts.


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