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Info Meetings Set on HealthAlliance Closures

September 27, 2018

LEOMINSTER -- With little more than a month left until UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital is expected to shutter four services it offers in Leominster and Fitchburg, hospital and elected officials are embarking on a series of meetings to notify the public.

Due to reported low patient volume, the hospital announced in May that it would be closing its 11-bed inpatient pediatric unit, cardiac rehabilitation unit, and pulmonary rehabilitation unit in Leominster, as well as its urgent care center in Fitchburg.

Communicating these plans to the public has been one of the most frequent criticisms from elected officials opposing the closures, including Fitchburg Mayor Stephen DiNatale and Leominster state Rep. Natalie Higgins. The state Department of Public Health has also continued to ask for more details on how the hospital plans to engage with the public in correspondence with HealthAlliance in recent weeks.

According to a Sept. 20 letter from the hospital to DPH, meetings with public officials are ongoing and scheduled to continue into next week.

Both the mayors and fire chiefs of Leominster and Fitchburg reportedly met with representatives of the hospital on Monday and similar meetings were held at Leominster’s Spanish American Center and the Montachusett Opportunity Council in the week before.

Future meetings are scheduled to take place on Oct. 2 at the LUK Crisis Center at 11:30 a.m. and the Seven Hills Foundation Family Support Center on Oct. 5 at 11 a.m.

A public forum on the closures is being organized by Higgins and will be held at the Leominster First Church Unitarian Universalist at 6 p.m. on Oct. 1.

According to a statement from Higgins’ office, the forum will be a listening session for Fitchburg and Leominster leaders to hear concerns from residents.

Apart from Higgins, the forum with also be attended by Fitchburg state Rep. Stephan Hay, Clinton state Rep. Harold Naughton Jr., Leominster City Councilor Sue Chalifoux Zephir, and Fitchburg City Council President Michael Kushmerek.

Follow Peter Jasinski on Twitter @PeterJasinski53

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