Porchlight closes Pittsfield office

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PITTSFIELD — Porchlight VNA/Home Care recently vacated its office in Pittsfield, but that decision hasn't affected the agency's ability to provide services throughout the Berkshires.

Porchlight, which leased its space at 306 South St., closed its Pittsfield office Sept. 1 when its lease ran out and the owner put the building up for sale.

A New England Colonial-style structure built in 1900 that has been converted into office space, the 14,534-square-foot building located next to Berkshire Place on South Street is listed for $279,000 on the Berkshire MLS listings.

All of Porchlight's Berkshire operations are now housed at the agency's corporate office in Lee. The agency also has an office in Chicopee.

"We're still invested in the community we serve in Pittsfield," said Porchlight CEO Holly Chaffee, "and still as committed to serving those areas as we ever were. We're going to continue to do business in all of the Berkshires, and in Hampden and Hampshire County. We just have one less office space."

Porchlight began leasing its Pittsfield office in April 2016 and used it as a satellite office, Chaffee said. It originally housed 15 staffers and served as a drop-off point for Porchlight employees who needed to pick up supplies and materials or complete paperwork.

Porchlight provides services to 74 Western Massachusetts municipalities in three counties, but having a physical presence in a community isn't important due to the nature of the agency's work. "The majority of our staff does not go to an office anyway because we're in the field of home care," Chaffee said. "The actual physical location isn't as important to them. With technology, people can work more virtually now. They all have tablets.

"What we're doing has to do so much with the change in health care reimbursements. Therefore, we have to keep up with the pace, and the cutbacks and operate more efficiently. We operate more efficiently with technology. We've been able to invest in and support it."

In August, Porchlight entered into a management agreement with a subsidiary of the state's largest nonprofit home health and hospice provider that expands the local agency's services from Western Massachusetts to other parts of the state.

The partnership with VNA Care, a subsidiary of Atrius Health of Worcester, had no bearing on Porchlight's decision to close its Pittsfield office. "This was a separate plan" Chaffee said.

Founded as Lee VNA in 1912, Porchlight is the only Western Massachusetts agency to have received a five-star rating by the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid. Porchlight expanded into Hampden and Hampshire counties in 2014 when it merged with Chicopee VNA.

Contact Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski at tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6224.




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