Community gathers to prevent hospital closure

NORTH ADAMS, Mass (WWLP)– More than 500 people in Northern Berkshire County could be without a job after tomorrow.

The North Adams Regional Hospital filed for Bankruptcy in 2011, now, its is expected to close Friday morning.

The medical facility is 129 years old and serves about 40,000 people.  Its closing will also mean about 550 people are out of a job.

22News reported from North Adams throughout the day Wednesday as the community gathered  to brainstorm ways to keep their hospital open.

The city’s mayor shared with 22News his thoughts on the matter.  “People has asked me, was I surprised by the closure? No, I was not surprised. I think if any of us were surprised it would be off because the hospital has been in financial trouble for a long time. But shocked. I think the community is shocked over this. I certainly am,” Dick Alcombright, Mayor of North Adams, said.

In a statement the Northern Berkshire Healthcare Board Chair told 22News, “We have investigated every possible avenue and exhausted all options as we searched for a way to continue operating the hospital and its affiliates.”

Many community members and the Massachusetts Nurses Association told 22News are hoping there’s a way to come up with a plan that would avoid what they are calling a healthcare disaster.

Debbo Poplaski works as a secretary in the hospital’s emergency department.

“You have somebody that’s in cardiac arrest. Can you do CPR for a half an hour all the way down to BMC? I don’t know. I hope you can.

If it closes, the next nearest hospitals for people in the North Adams community to use are Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield or a hospital in Bennington Vermont

They are calling on Governor Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley to intervene.

Supporters are planning to hold morning vigils Thursday and Friday in the hospital Lobby.

Comments are closed.