By G. Michael Dobbs
HOLYOKE – Mayoral Chief of Staff Rory Casey confirmed on March 25 the Department of Public Health will be helping to finance the cost of patient care at the Geriatric Authority of Holyoke (GAH).
The city and the GAH will receive $160,000 as the first payment with that sum repeated bi-weekly until the all of the patients are relocated and the facility is closed.
According to Casey, there are less than 30 patients at the GAH at this time.
The funding will pay for the salaries of the employees and the food for the patients.
The announcement of the funding came after additional discussion conducted between Mayor Alex Morse, the office of the Attorney General and the Department of Public Health.
The funding takes the place of appointing a receiver to operate the GAH in its final days.
Morse said, “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.”
He concluded, “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.”