WESTFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Mass. Department of Public Health held their second public hearing this week regarding Baystate Health’s proposed closure of two intensive care units.
About three dozen people were in attendance Wednesday afternoon to express their concerns with Baystate’s plan to close ICU beds at Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer and Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield.
As part of the process, the DPH holds public hearings. Tuesday afternoon, there was one in Palmer and today's was in Westfield.
Community members at today's meeting said they are concerned with losing intensive care in their neighborhood and on this side of the Connecticut River.
The Massachusetts Nurses Association is also hoping the proposed closures don't go through.
"This is a safety issue for patients. We have many other towns that use Noble Hospital and if someone’s very critical, they can’t be transported all the way to Springfield," said Nancy Fleury of Westfield.
These changes from Baystate come as the organization also looks to eliminate mental health beds at Baystate Wing, Baystate Noble, and Baystate Franklin Medical Center, with those patients being moved to a planned new inpatient behavioral health hospital in Holyoke.
"We have partners with a company called US HealthVest in order to increase capacity of behavioral health beds in our communities. We recognize that access to care is often not what we would like it to be. Patients travel great distances to be placed for behavioral health needs and this will allow us 30 to 40 percent more capacity. It will also allow children and adolescents to be treated in Holyoke," said Nancy Shendell-Falik, senior vice president of hospital operations for Baystate Health.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday in Greenfield, city councilors will be voting on a resolution to keep those inpatient mental health services at Baystate Franklin Medical Center.
We will continue to follow these proposed changes and future decisions.