Lt. Governor Polito and State Officials Open Addiction Program for Women at Western Massachusetts Hospital

Westfield –Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito joined with state and local officials today for a tour of the Gandara Esperanza Women’s Transitional Support Services Program at Western Massachusetts Hospital, a newly opened 30-bed women’s unit to treat substance use disorder, which has already treated more than 65 women.    

“Earlier this year, we were proud to enact landmark legislation including the first law in the nation to limit first time adult opioid prescriptions to a seven-day supply, and other important prevention and education provisions recommended by our opioid working group,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We’re pleased to see this program move forward as we continue to expand the tools and resources available to those fighting this epidemic.”

“Our administration is committed to providing opioid addiction treatment options which support the needs of every person struggling with addiction,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Women with substance misuse disorders deserve treatment, support and recovery services in the same dignified medical setting that individuals with any other chronic condition receive.”

The Gandara Esperanza Women’s program is a short-term residential program for women who need a safe and structured environment to support their recovery process after detoxification.  This program is designed to help those who need services between acute treatment and residential rehabilitation, outpatient, or other aftercare.   

“The Gandara Esperanza Women’s Transitional Support Services Program cultivates healing by offering hope for women with addictions to continue their treatment and recovery in the community,” said Marylou Sudders, Secretary for Health and Human Services and Chair of the Governor’s Opioid Working Group. “We are pleased to partner with Gandara‘s team who are passionate about helping women recover from substance misuse.” 

Renovation work to create the unit was done in-house by repurposing items such as cabinets and furniture.  The new unit, an 8,000 square foot former inpatient unit, took 5 months to complete.  The 30-bed unit includes double and triple bedrooms, private treatment spaces, a dining room, a lounge, a secure intake area, an art room and indoor and outdoor recreation areas.

“Recovery is about finding meaning and purpose in your life, and the Gandara TSS is where this can begin,” said Valenda Liptak, CEO of Western Massachusetts Hospital. “We will continue to work closely with our partners on the Gandera team to ensure this program is a success.”

In addition to these 30 beds,  45 beds at Taunton State Hospital and  28 beds at Shattuck State Hospital were added earlier this year to treat women committed under Section 35. The Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17) budget includes $160.9 million in opioid prevention services, which includes $1.34 million in funding to support the Gandara Esperanza Women’s program.

Western Massachusetts Hospital has been serving the community since 1910.  It is a 100 bed long term medical and specialty care hospital owned and operated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Public Health. Located in Westfield, the facility is the only public hospital operating in the western region of Massachusetts with a mission to serve as a medical safety net for many uninsured and underinsured citizens residing in the region. Western Massachusetts Hospital provides both acute and chronic hospital care to patients with a variety of chronic diseases and complicated medical conditions.  They also provide dental services to targeted populations as part of its community benefits program.

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