HARRISBURG – State Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50th) announced that she will join Senators Scott Hutchinson (R-21st), John Yudichak (D-14), and Lisa Baker (R-20th) in offering legislation that would institute a moratorium on the scheduled closing of the Polk State Center in Venango County and White Haven State Center in Luzerne County.
“After chairing a three-hour Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing, it became even more evident that the decision to close Polk and White Haven was made without talking to the residents and families affected, and without the input of the staff, who are the loving, familiar faces who have cared for the residents for years. It was also made without having concrete knowledge of whether adequate capacity exists to provide appropriate care to all residents in the community,” Brooks said in a press release.
“At the very least, there should be a moratorium on this decision to have a more thorough discussion that ensures that our most vulnerable citizens in our Commonwealth will be cared for in the most appropriate setting possible. While a community setting may be suitable for many, the mortality rates cited after other closures are troubling, as is the distance families would be forced to travel to see their loved ones,” Brooks said.
“The unilateral decision made by the Department of Human Services to close Polk and White Haven State Centers is forcing the families who call these Centers home to make unimaginably difficult decisions about the quality of care for their loved ones,” Yudichak said in the release. “During this challenging time, the hard-working employees of the Centers, who also face an uncertain future, have rallied around these families. In that spirit, legislators have come together in a bipartisan fashion to craft legislation that would impose an immediate moratorium on the closure of White Haven State Center and Polk State Center.”
“The Department of Human Services is seemingly unmoved by the heartfelt appeals from the families of the residents who will be uprooted by the closure of these centers,” Hutchinson said. “This move by DHS will be disruptive beyond description for those who have known no other home. That means it is incumbent on the Legislature to take action to protect these vulnerable individuals.”
“Polk and White Haven are ‘home’ and are ‘the community’ for many residents, and they should have a voice in the choice,” Brooks said..