BERWICK, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A tense and emotional public meeting in Columbia County occurred Monday night as Berwick residents worry about the closure of their local hospital and the future of their health care.
More than 100 people turned out to the borough council making their voices heard, hoping against hope to stop the closure of Berwick Hospital.
Berwick Hospital is slated to close in a few months and may eventually transition into a psychiatric hospital.
Residents are upset, in part because the nearest hospital will now be a half-hour’s drive.
Many of the nearly 80 union healthcare workers at the hospital turned out Monday night. They say they were shocked to learn about the closure from local news reports. The Borough Manager said at the meeting, that at this point, there’s nothing they can do.
“There really is not much that the borough can do and there probably isn’t really anything that the borough can actively do to say no, you may not transition from acute medical care, acute physical care to psychiatric care,” explained Damien Scoblink, Berwick Borough Manager.
“Not having a hospital in this community is a death knell to Berwick. You’re not going to get young people to stay and you’re not going to get new people to move in,” said Claudia Glennon, Berwick resident.
“We at the hospital, my colleagues, and I would like it to remain an acute care hospital with a functioning E.R.,” added Beverly Moore, a Berwick Hospital RN for 17 years.
“If there is anybody out there that is a lawyer, an engineer, anything in any different area that has any ideas for this for our community not to lose our hospital, please call our council.”
Workers were given a 90-day notice about the closure on July 15.