Department of Public Health to Hold Public Hearing (Feb. 15) On the Proposed Closure of a 15-bed Drug and Alcohol Detox Unit at Brigham & Women's Faulkner Hospital

Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:48am EST

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Opponents to the Closing Will Present Testimony Detailing the Devastating Impact
the Loss of this Service Will Have on the Most Vulnerable Patients Requiring
Complex Treatment for Addiction

Debate Over This Closing Comes at a Time When Addiction is Increasing and When
There is a Shortage of These Types of Services in the State, Particularly for
the Level of Care Provided at The Faulkner Unit

BOSTON,  Feb. 13, 2013  /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following media advisory
was issued today by Massachusetts Nurses Association / National Nurses United:  


When:Friday, February 15, 2013
2 p.m.   

Where:  Mass. Department of Public Health Council Room, 250 Washington, St., 
Boston, MA

What: The Department of Public Health will hold a public hearing on  Feb. 15,
2013  concerning the plan by Partners HealthCare to close its Level 4 15-bed
Alcohol & Drug Detox Unit  at  the Brigham & Women's Faulkner Hospital in 
Jamaica Plain, one of only two acute care hospitals providing this level of
addictions treatment in the city. The public hearing is part of the legal
process Partners is required to go through prior to closing the unit, which is
designed to determine if this is an essential service for patients in the
Commonwealth. The proposed closing has been met with strong grassroots
opposition by a variety of groups and individuals, including addictions/recovery
advocates, community organizations, clinicians and elected officials. Opponents
to the closing believe the loss of this service will have a devastating impact
on the most vulnerable residents struggling with addictions in  Greater Boston 
and beyond, as it comes at a time when the addictions are increasing and when
there is a critical shortage of these types of beds and services in the
Commonwealth.  In fact, the Massachusetts Health Council released a report last
fall which found that  Eastern Massachusetts  had the highest rate of emergency
room visits for illicit drug use than any metropolitan region  the United
States.  The Brigham & Women's Faulkner Hospital Alcohol and Detoxification
program provides specialized care by a team of physicians, nurses and other
addictions treatment and mental health professionals to more than 1,000 patients
each year. These are patients with severe alcohol and drug problems, who often
have other serious medical mental health complications that cannot be addressed
on general hospital floors or as outpatients, as Partners is proposing. The
closing of this unit will result in more of these patients crowding our
emergency departments; in patients being placed on hospital floors where they
will not receive the same level of care; or worst of all, in patients left
untreated in our communities. Adding to the ire of opponents is the fact that
Partners HealthCare, which reported a significant profit of more than  $350
million  last year, can well afford to keep this service open.   

Who: Scheduled to speak at the hearing are representatives from the Mass.
Organization of Addiction & Recovery, physicians and nurses who work at the
program, former patients, local community leaders, elected leaders and public
health experts.   

SOURCE  Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United

David Schildmeier, +1-781-249-0430

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