State approves Holyoke Geriatric Authority closure - Tucson News Now

State approves Holyoke Geriatric Authority closure

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

On Monday, the Holyoke Geriatric Authority sent a request to the state asking to close the building after battling a series of financial problems.

The Department of Public Health granted that request on Friday.

A meeting was held that evening where emotions ran high as board members decided the fate of the center.

Some members wanted to throw out the closer proposal and explore possibilities to keep it open.

But after much back-and-forth debating, in a 4-2 vote, the board decided to continue with the closing process.

"I'm heartbroken. I truly am heartbroken. These are people, these are lives that we're dealing with," said board chairman Fred Glidden.  

The closure is effective immediately.

But according to the nurse's union representative, Tyrone Housey, not all employees should expect a shift in jobs just yet.

"As long as there's residents here, there's jobs," said Housey.  

The board said they approached the city for an alternative and that officials said they would need an up-front payment.

A payment, Glidden said, the center doesn't have.

"They wanted $15,000, I think, but we don't have a dime," said Glidden.  

In a statement issued to CBS 3, Mayor Alex Morse said, "This will ultimately protect the tax payers of this City, the employees of the GAH, and the residents of the facility."

As for those residents and employees, The Department of Public Health and the city of Holyoke said they have a plan in place to make sure everyone has a smooth transition.

"We continue to hope for the best. We continue to look out for our elected leaders and hope that somebody will step in and help out in this situation," said Housey.

Morse said the Division of Labor and Workforce Development will be meeting with employees, union officials and the Authority's Human Resource personnel early next week.

Patients' families have received a letter from Holyoke Geriatric informing them of the closer and highlighting the steps to take to move their loved ones.

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