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Our mission at the Holyoke Health Center is to "Improve the health of our patients through affordable, quality health care and comprehensive community-based programs to create a healthy community."

News & Events

Below you'll find the latest news and events.

The Holyoke Health Center and all locations will be CLOSED on Thursday, November 25th and Friday, November 26th for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Holyoke, MA - Holyoke Health Center has been awarded $75,000 from the Provider Access Grant Improvement Grant Program (PAIGP) in their third round of grant awards. Holyoke Health was among 61 MassHealth Fee-for-Service Providers awarded, which totaled over $1.84M. The PAIGP grant serves to help providers increase access to healthcare, and improve outcomes for patients with disabilities, or for whom English is not a first language. These awards are to be used for purchasing accessible medical diagnostic equipment, communication devices, and other resources.

Holyoke Health Center is pleased to use this grant towards expanding the Vision Center—which is relocating to the Steiger Building and is scheduled to open December of this year. The new location will provide additional space for exam rooms and equipment, allowing them to treat more patients. The funds will also be used to purchase an instrument called Maestro II, which has dual functions: 

  1. The first as a camera to take pictures of the inside of a patient’s eyes to help record any abnormalities.
  2. The second is an OCT (optical coherence tomographer) which allows us to take scans of parts of the back of the eye to see if there is pathology present that is not obvious to the examiner’s eye. For instance: fluid from diabetic retinopathy under the retina causing blurry vision or changes in the optic nerve that indicate glaucoma is developing.

Megan McPhail, an Optometrist at Holyoke Health Center, highlights the significance of these improvements, “In the past, we have had to refer patients out for OCTs. Now we will be able to perform the scans here, which will help determine whether a patient needs to be referred to a specialist for treatment. Recently, MA passed a bill that will allow optometrists to treat Glaucoma for the first time. We are all trained during school to diagnose and treat Glaucoma, however, each state has laws on what we are and are not allowed to treat. We have had to send all of our patients to an ophthalmologist for evaluation and treatment, and often our patients would have to find someone who spoke English to go with them because the provider did not have an interpreter. Now we will be able to keep a majority of these patients in house and monitor and treat them here. This is huge!”

The PAIG grant will provide additional support to members of the community and health center. McPhail adds, “We are one of the only locations that takes Mass Health and has translation services so our patients love coming here for their eye care. As our department expands, we will have the equipment necessary to support the expansion. Super exciting.”

In honor of National Recovery Month, the Center for Recovery and Support shares short biographies from our Recovery Coaches about their experiences in long-term recovery.

"Hi, my name is Jennifer and I'm a Recovery Coach at Holyoke Health Center with the Center for Recovery and Support. I am also a woman in long-term recovery. Getting to this point was not easy. I stumbled many many times and had lots of recurrences throughout the years. One thing I am most grateful for, is for the support and love that people showed me when I couldn't love or support myself. Thank Goodness for the people that never gave up on me. People at one point had to show me tough love, yet never stopped showing support. I am extremely grateful to have today over 4 1/2 years of sobriety; something I never thought would be possible or deserved. I enjoy the work I do because I hope to inspire people to know and understand that recovery is possible and all that is needed is the willingness and hope. People inspired hope in me and the willingness came along from being sick and tired of being sick and tired of the lifestyle I was living. The gratitude that I have is hard to put into words, so I show it with my actions in helping others that are in the same position as I was and know that recovery is possible and just a little bit of hope can change a life forever."
-Jennifer Sanchez, HHC Recovery Coach

"Hello, my name is Maritza Rivera. I am a woman in long term recovery, but I wasn't always in recovery. I struggled with addiction for 20 long years, I am not 6 years in recovery. The way I began my recovery was when I hit rock bottom, I lost myself through addiction, and I lost my child to DCF and went to jail. Throughout my journey to recovery, I was inspired to give back to my community, so I decided to become a recovery coach. Through the recovery program I attended, I was given the opportunity to receive recovery coach training. I'd love to help and inspire others into seeking recovery by just living as my true self. Having confidence and motivation proves that we can achieve anything we put our minds to. I feel by showing compassion and expressing all of the obstacles I overcame, helps me relate, as well as give others hope that there are always brighter days to come. I am always willing to listen and engage with individuals who are seeking recovery and even with those who don't know it yet. I always try to meet them where they are. As you see, I am very passionate about recovery and want to continue helping others who find themselves without hope. This opportunity has helped me make a difference in many lives. "I am not anonymous. I am not ashamed. What used to be my mess is now my message. There's life after addiction, and I pray that everyone finds it." Recovery is possible!!"
-Maritza Rivera, HHC Recovery Coach

"Addiction is both progressive and fatal if left untreated. Sadly there are many years, case studies, and human lives that we can look to confirm this. The narrative has changed regarding addiction; it is no longer considered a moral failing but instead a disease by the criterion listed above. My name is Nelson, and I myself have been afflicted with this illness. To me the problem started in my spirit, centered in my mind, and manifested in my body. Substance use started with marijuana and alcohol and progressed through most of the known addictive substances, this almost cost me my life on a daily basis. The substances were putting my at risk but it was also the ways in which I chose support and maintain my addiction that were just as risky as the using. These are the issues of recovery, the uplifting of the spirit, the rebuilding of the mind, and the quest for good physical health. I am proud to say that I have been in recovery consistently for the last 7 years. Being able to use my direct experience to encourage, empower, and uplift others has been the bright sport of my recovery. Although each person's situation is unique to themselves, there are some general principles that we can agree on and in that agreement there is an atmosphere created that allows room for recovery to happen. I'm honored to be a part of it today. I'm blessed to be alive and so long as I keep this perspective, a drink or a drug becomes the furthest thought in mine. This allows me to be present, relevant, and inspiring to those who seek what I have been graciously given in my journey."
-Nelson Amalbert, HHC Recovery Coach


A message from our Center for Recovery & Support: This year has been harder than most in many ways. We have lost so many loved ones not only to COVID-19, but to preventable overdoses. Since the pandemic began, the number of opioid-related deaths in Holyoke and Western Mass have been on the rise. Below is data gathered by the Communities that HEAL study on Holyoke related OD cases through 2020.

Tomorrow, August 31st Holyoke Health Center staff are wearing purple to remember those we've lost, open our hearts to the people left behind, and pledge to do all we can to #Endoverdose. Our community is disproportionately impacted by opioids and overdose. We believe that every individual, family and community deserves recovery. Overdoses are preventable and no family should ever experience the devastating pain of losing their loved ones in this way.

Recovery is accessible to everyone. The Center for Recovery and Support at Holyoke Health Center provides much more than medication for substance use disorder, we also provide hope that recovery is possible with the support of the recovery programs at CRS.

In recognition of Overdose Awareness Day, Holyoke Health Center and the Center for Recovery and Support wants to share a reminder on accessibility to the lifesaving tool of Naloxone (Narcan). Here are details on how to access it and use in case of an overdose:

To Obtain Narcan from a Pharmacy:

  • Patient can express interest in getting Narcan to any staff member
  • One of the clinical pharmacists will call them into a MTM room to go over a short intake form and to train the patient on how to use it
  • Once the counseling portion is complete, the prescription is filled out and filled by the pharmacy which takes ~15 minutes

To Obtain Narcan from CRS:

  • Patient can express interest in getting Narcan to any staff member
  • The staff member then goes through the OEND questionnaire and provides training on proper use
  • Once the counseling is complete, the patient leaves with a box of Narcan.
    • Obtaining Narcan in CRS is not processed through a patient’s prescription insurance (sometimes patient’s want Narcan but do not want their insurance company to know).

Together we can end overdose and overdose related deaths.





"Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals."

Read the full press from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, here.

Our HHC Walk-In Center is Now Open Late!

Hours of Operation:

Mondays 8:30AM - 8PM
Tuesdays 8:30AM - 8PM
Wednesdays 8:30AM - 8PM
Thursdays 8:30AM - 4PM
Fridays 8:30AM - 4PM

The Holyoke Health Center Walk-In Center offers medical services
for patients on a walk-in basis - no appointment needed!

COVID Vaccines are available for our eligible patients!
Visit www.HolyokePatientVax.com
or call (413) 420 – 2200 to schedule a vaccine appointment.
Appointment slots fill quickly and new ones become available weekly.
Please check back frequently.

These appointments are for PATIENTS ONLY. If you are not a HHC or CHC patient, your appointment will be canceled.

"COVID-19 education has been a priority for Esparza-Perez whose federally-qualified health center serves a high percentage of Hispanic or Latino patients. It provides primary and preventative care in both English and Spanish.

COVID-19 hospitalization rates for such patients are much higher than those of non-Hispanic whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Government agencies, as well as others, have highlighted the need for information about the virus — and the two recently authorized vaccines — to be accessible to blacks, Latinos and people of color.

“I was looking like a mad man,” Esparza-Perez said. “Telling everyone on the street who would listen that I got vaccinated as well as on my social media and having lots of conversations with people at work as well as with my patients. The science behind the vaccine is very solid, side effects are mild and well-tolerated in the majority of cases.”

Vaccine education that Holyoke Health has done with staff has resulted in many of them being immunized, Esparza-Perez said. He is optimistic for similar results with patients as the state’s timeline for who can get vaccinated begins to broaden.

“People respond very well once they understand,” Esparza-Perez said. “We make the information we give personal and local. If you don’t take the time to do this, then people resort to finding information wherever they can. If you know how to explain it and give them the right sources for information, people respond positively.”

Some 70 percent of the 24,000 patients that Holyoke Health serves annually in Holyoke, Chicopee and surrounding communities, identify as Hispanic or Latino."

To read the entire artcile, visit MassLive at www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2021/02/health-care-providers-urge-latino-community-to-get-covid-19-vaccine

Holyoke, MA - The Holyoke Health Center announced $30,000 in COVID-19 Response grant funding awarded by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. The grant funds will support the mental health needs of Holyoke Health Center patients during the global pandemic.

In December 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH)announced the roll-out of Phase 1 of the COVID Vaccine Plan. Individuals eligible in Phase 1 of the plan included frontline healthcare workers. On December 22nd, the Holyoke Health Center received their first shipment of 400 Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines and in that same week, vaccine clinics for Holyoke Health Center staff members began. As of mid-January, approximately 300 Holyoke Health Center staff members have been vaccinated for COVID-19, over 80% of the entire organization.

The Holyoke Health Center continues to follow the MA DPH COVID Vaccine Plan and currently is hosting vaccine clinics for individuals eligible in Phase 1 and Phase 2A.

For more information, visit our COVID Vaccine webpage for updates on eligibility.