Former North Adams employees still waiting for a solution

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (WWLP) – North Adams residents and employees received a 3 day notice before the hospital closed its doors. That meant 500 people are out of a job right now.

22News spoke with nurses and employees who used to work at the North Adams Regional Medical Center say they are disappointed, and hoped more would have come out of Tuesday’s meeting.

However, they do say getting State Officials to actually come to the city is something they’ve wanted since day one. So seeing those in North Adams did let a lot of people know their voices were being heard.

Angie Lingner, who was a nurse at the hospital, said she understands it takes time to get an ER back up and running, but it’s something that needs to happen soon. “For a small ER we see 70-90 patients a day, so with that influx, I don’t know how BMC and southwestern Vermont can absorb those patients.”

22News spoke to one person who visited the emergency room at Berkshire Medical Center and said it was packed and overcrowded, with wait times twice as long as usual.

When the emergency room does reopen here in North Adams, around 80-100 people will get their jobs back. For a lot of people struggling without a paycheck, that date can’t come soon enough.

7 to 8 other departments will also need to reopen in order to support the ER. Employees are hopeful that once the license gets approved, Berkshire Medical center will be able to run the hospital.

Another big problem former employees were faced with was health insurance. Tuesday was actually the first day their insurance expired.

22News spoke with David Schildmeier, the Communications Director for the Massachusetts Nurses Association. He says he’s working to help some of the nurses apply for COBRA.

That’s generally more expensive, because now employees are forced to pay the portion of the charges that were once covered by their employer.

Staff is hopeful that as time goes on the entire hospital will be reopen under Berkshire Medical center.

Governor Patrick has said he is working on getting state license approval. From there it will need federal approval as well.

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