DPH to provide funding to the Geriatric Authority

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse announced Monday night that the Department of Public Health will provide funding until the Geriatric Authority can permanently close.

Mayor Morse said the DPH will provide bi-weekly payments to cover the costs needed to pay employees and food vendors until the facility closes. The state approved the closing plan several weeks ago.

The Attorney General’s office will also work with the DPH to monitor the closure and relocation process of the facility’s remaining residents and employees.

Below is a news release sent to 22News from Mayor Morse’s office regarding the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke:

In an effort to continue providing clear and accurate communication to the public, media, residents and employees of the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke, Mayor Morse is pleased to confirm that after conversations with the Office of the Attorney General, the Department of Public Health (DPH) will provide the funding needed for the Geriatric Authority to continue providing quality care to its residents until the facility can permanently close.

In light of the concerns from the public, Authority residents and employees, Mayor Morse had called on Attorney General Martha Coakley to review the situation to ensure that the facility would have enough financial resources available to pay its employees and provide quality care to its residents, possibly by appointing a receiver. However, after reviewing the situation with their office it was agreed that the best course of action would be for DPH to directly provide the Geriatric Authority with financial resources. At this point it has been confirmed that DPH will provide biweekly payments to the Geriatric Authority to cover the costs needed to pay employees and food vendors until the facility is finished carrying out the closing plan that was approved by the state several weeks ago. The Attorney General’s office will continue working with DPH to monitor the closure and relocation process of the facility’s remaining residents and employees.

“The support we have received from Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office has brought some much needed clear communication and stability to an understandably unnerving closure process.  It is easy for communication to get lost in the midst of an emotional time for so many employees and families, and I am grateful for the guidance and leadership of her office to ensure a smooth closure process for everyone involved.

Further, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the leadership of Executive Director Mike Stroezel at the Geriatric Authority.  Having only been hired months ago and having nothing to do with the past mismanagement of the Authority, he has demonstrated true leadership in an otherwise seemingly impossible situation. Mike has been working tirelessly to provide his residents and employees with more than they have received in the past and I look forward to assisting him in anyway possible during the closure process.

Moving forward, it is important that we look past pointing fingers and conversations about what could have been done differently.  The reality is that a significant chapter of Holyoke’s history is coming to an end, and we have to make sure that the remaining employees and residents of the GAH are successfully relocated, provided for, and given the best care available.”

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