Concerns heard during public hearing on closing of Vibra Hospita - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Concerns heard during public hearing on closing of Vibra Hospital in Springfield

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(Western Mass News photo) (Western Mass News photo)

A public hearing was held Thursday afternoon on the closing of Vibra Hospital in Springfield.

The hearing is being conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

"When we first heard the news, it was a shock.  It's not good news when you hear you're going to be losing a job," said Stephen Santiago.

Santiago works as a mental health counselor in the psychiatric unit at Vibra Hospital.

In November, Vibra announced the closing of the 220-bed acute care facility on State Street.

"These are challenging times.  Medicare and Medicare changes can't sustain the population at the hospital," said Vibra CEO Gregory Toot.

At Thursday's hearing, there was major concern expressed for what will happen to patients

"I'm concerned about patients.  Many come from Springfield on Medicare, MassHealth, Medicaid.  Closing will be a major impact to them and their families," said union president Christian Leeds.

Along those addressing the hearing was Springfield State Representative Bud Williams, who said after patients, there is concern for everyone losing a job.

"The employee piece...250 people will lose jobs.  There had to be severance pay for workers, unemployment benefits, vacation, etc.," Williams noted.

The hospital is slated to close at the end of March.

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