First Posted: 4/16/2014
WILKES-BARRE — United Rehabilitation Services Inc. (URS) is closing its doors in the not-too-distant future.
URS issued a WARN (Workers Adjustment and Notification Act) notice to its employees today of the organization’s intent to discontinue all operations as of June 18. URS has facilities in Wilkes-Barre, Hazleton and Tunkhannock. The organization serves 300 clients in the three-county area.
According to CEO Joe Pierangeli, cuts in funding have made it impossible for URS to continue providing vocational services to its clients in a financially responsible manner.
“Over the last few years, we have worked to secure new funding sources, reduce expenses, expand our client base and streamline operations,” he said. “Unfortunately, these measures have not been sufficient to overcome the ongoing reductions in reimbursements. We are currently operating at a deficit that we cannot continue to sustain.”
Higher fuel costs, decreased client days caused by inclement weather, escalating health care costs and the general downturn in the economy over the past few years also played a part in the organization’s current financial situation.
More recently, in an effort to arrange for continued and uninterrupted service to its clients, URS solicited other organizations serving the disabled to consider a possible merger with or acquisition of URS. Bill Lewis, president of the URS Board of Directors, explained that conversations with representatives from these organizations were initiated in the hope that an alternative to losing these vital community services could be found.
“We will continue to explore possible alternatives to closing, but in the meantime, we are legally required to issue these WARN notices to alert our employees and clients of the projected closing,” he said. “Sadly, it seems that our model of service is no longer financially viable. We have been honored to serve our clients, families and the community all these years and we will work with county and state agencies over the next 60 days to make the transition to alternate placements for our clients as seamless as possible.”
URS was founded in 1958 to increase the number of and improve the quality of vocational opportunities for persons with disabilities. The agency has been a leader in developing creative and cooperative vocational opportunities for persons with mild to severe disabilities.