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First Hospital to close, end services in October

The hospital in Luzerne County has announced plans to close its door on Oct. 30, 2022.

KINGSTON, Pa. — First Hospital announced Monday plans to close the facility and affiliated outpatient services on October 30 due to staffing issues.

"People that I know that mental issues you know with Covid and people losing their jobs and everything else, so there's a lot of people that are struggling," said Valarie, Reiser, Wilkes-Barre.

First opened in 1983, the hospital in Kinston offers inpatient psychiatric treatment for children, adolescents, and adults, as well as counseling services and other outpatient programs.

"Not only is the First Valley itself being affected, it's also the students that are in the partial programs and a lot of them a chance," said Jennifer Mickle-Symons, Larksville.

Mickle-Symons says her 17-year-old son has benefited immensely from this program, but now his road to finishing high school is uncertain.

"They have been helping. He's finally back at a point where he wants to take his medication, and he wants to do better. He's finally realizing he has to do something for his future. I know he has nowhere to go," said Mickle-Symons.

Commonwealth Health cites an incident in June as one reason for closing First Hospital. Police had to be called, several people were hurt, and since then, many staff members have left.

"We already have such a strained mental health system in this area, and it's already so taxed between the lack of mental health services," said Mickle-Symons.

According to the release, maintaining adequate staffing levels at the hospital has been difficult since the COVID-19 pandemic.

After June's incident at the facility, new admissions have been put on hold, leading to more staff members leaving.

First Hospital said they're committed to providing ongoing care for current patients during this period until the closure.

The announcement of the closure is leaving many patients concerned about what to do next, including parents with children a part of the partial programs, a program where students can prioritize their mental health while in school.

The hospital will be treating its patients until their last day, which is October 30.

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