Letter: We can do better for a vulnerable population

Published: 7/31/2020 12:02:32 AM

The Crotched Mountain Greenfield campus is a private, long-term residential facility also housing special education schooling that provides rehabilitation for people with severe developmental disabilities and complex medical needs. They close their doors permanently in November, affecting about 80 day students and 25 adults they serve.

This is not a surprise as care facilities around the nation, which already operate on shoestring budgets even prior to a pandemic, are struggling to sustain operations due to COVID-19. Crotched Mountain had already been instituting cost-savings measures for years, including shutting down its hospital and day care, and reorganizing its business strategies to no avail.

Parents and family members of residential patients were notified in a letter that a new facility had to be found for their loved ones before Nov. 1, placing families and residents in a heartbreaking position. Families are now scrambling to find new housing and schooling options as other facilities have minimized incoming transfers and site visits due to health concerns.

There is no blame attached to this closing, but one wonders what role the state has in protecting this vulnerable population. It is inconceivable to leave families in this position during a global pandemic. The state should fully fund area agencies to provide continued services until New Hampshire has recovered from the grave effects of the pandemic.

We have endured the unexpected this year, but families of those with developmental disabilities should not have to suffer needlessly during this time. Surely, we can do better.

Rep. WENDY E.N. THOMAS

Merrimack

(The writer is executive director of the New Hampshire Challenge.)


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