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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.

On Monday January 10th, the Baker-Polito administration announced that Massachusetts residents will have access to a digital COVID-19 Vaccination card through the state’s immunization registry. These “SMART Health Cards” come with a QR code and can be stored on your smart device to show proof of vaccination status.

“Starting today, Massachusetts residents can visit www.myvaxrecords.mass.gov, a web portal that follows national standards for security and privacy and provides residents a way to electronically view and save their COVID-19 vaccine record.

By providing a cell phone number or email address, users can obtain a digital record of their vaccinations recorded in the Massachusetts Immunization Information System. Their COVID-19 vaccination record includes a unique QR code that can be saved to the user’s phone files, camera roll or the Apple Wallet. It can also be printed out for a paper record.

The MyVaxRecords portal is just one way to obtain your COVID vaccination record. Pharmacies that administered the COVID vaccine and many health care providers also make available SMART Health Cards, providing additional options.

For more information about this new resource, visit and see the press release below. If you are a vaccine administering provider and you have questions about updating records in the MIIS, please contact Myvaxrecords@mass.gov for further assistance.”

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The Baker administration has stated that the use of this card is not a part of a vaccine mandate. The SMART Health Cards are a tool that Massachusetts residents can use if needed to show vaccination status if requested by business, local governments, or other entities.

For more information and instructions on how to access the SMART Health Cards, visit www.myvaxrecords.mass.gov

A message to our Holyoke and Chicopee Health Center Medical Patients:

Hospitals are filling up due to COVID 19 omicron surge and staffing shortages. Please DO NOT go to the hopsital for testing or minor symptoms. If you need a COVID Test, call (413) 420 -2200 to schedule a testing appointment. Come to our Walk-in Center for: cough, fever, sore throat, abdominal pain, minor cuts, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, asthma, allergy symptoms or pain with peeing. Call (413)420-2200 for 24/7 nurse advice.

In order to keep our patients and staff, safe and healthy whenever possible we are changing scheduled in person appointments during the month of January to telehealth. If you currently have a scheduled appointment that the health center would like to change to telehealth you will be contacted by health center staff.  Telehealth visits allow patients to stay in the comfort and safety of their home while still being able to talk with medical providers in real time to get the medical care they need. At this time we will not be scheduling new wellness or routine care visits until after February 14th.

ATTENTION: The Holyoke Health Center and all locations will open at 10am on Friday, January 7th, due to weather.

Holyoke Health Center (HHC) received a $2,500 grant from Health New England (HNE)for distributing self-monitoring blood pressure kits to patients unable to come into the health center during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the height of the pandemic, the City of Holyoke was deemed a sustained COVID-19 hotspot, meaning that COVID-19 community transition remained high for numerous months. Fewer patients came into the health center, and HHC’s onsite medical team accommodated patients who no longer came in to the health center with telehealth appointments to avoid interruptions in critical medical care and services.

Funding from HNE used to purchase at-home blood pressure kits. The kits are designed to record a history of readings, making it easy to share with their doctors during remote telehealth appointments. Blood pressure numbers are important in determining hypertension and related chronic diseases. This information is used to evaluate medication levels and course of treatment for better long-term outcomes.

Health New England is the only regional not-for-profit health plan based in Springfield, Massachusetts and serves commercial members in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties in Western Massachusetts and Worcester County. As part of its community benefits program, it developed the COVID-19 Mini Grant Program to help address the needs in our community.

Thank you, Health New England, for awarding the health center with the financial support to continue providing our patients with the best possible care!

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!