WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – A Trinity Health home care facility closed Monday in West Springfield, resulting in the layoff of dozens of staff.
Around 60 employees lost their jobs on Monday as a result of this closure. A local health worker said she was confused as home health care is needed now more than ever.
Back in July, Trinity Health announced they would be closing their home health care facility at the West Springfield hospice agency, affecting patients in western Massachusetts and 60 staff who have now been laid off.
Western Mass News asked the company for comment. Trinity Health At Home President and CEO Mark McPherson said in part, quoting:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the healthcare business forever. Although we anticipated and planned for the changes that a global pandemic would bring, the negative impact and lasting effects are far greater than anyone imagined. Health care systems nationwide are experiencing major shifts in patient numbers, staffing challenges including costly agency contracts, and rising utility and pharmacy costs.”
His statement went on:
“Trinity Health At Home addresses these challenges with long-term and short-term solutions so we can continue our mission to care for the many communities that depend on us. After much thought, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to close our Massachusetts agency, including home care and hospice, at Trinity Health of New England At Home.”
However, Massachusetts Nurses Association President Katie Murphy said she was shocked and confused.
“Communities need these services and hospitals are closing them down,” she told us.
Murphy said the patient numbers mentioned in the company’s statement are accurate, but she added that agencies like Trinity Health At Home are needed to take some of the pressure off hospitals by providing care at home.
“People who have delayed care during the pandemic are coming to the hospital sicker than ever. Hospitals are bursting at the seams,” Murphy told us. “From that point of view, it doesn’t seem to make sense.”
She also argued that staffing issues are the very reason why the company shouldn’t lay off 60 employees.
“Many hospitals say they have vacancies and Trinity is laying off 60 nurses? 60 medical professionals? I’m sure they’re needed somewhere,” Murphy said.
She told us hospitals have received funding to help deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. She believes these funds could have prevented this closure.
“It may be better for their bottom line, but not better for the community,” Murphy said. “The community needs these services.”
The company said those who lost their jobs are entitled to a severance package that includes pay, health insurance and other benefits.
Current patients could complete their 60-day care plan. If their needs exceed 60 days, their services will be transferred to a new agency.
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