North Adams Regional Hospital files for bankruptcy

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – North Adams Regional Hospital filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in U.S. District Court in Springfield on Thursday morning.

The hospital closed last Friday, citing financial problems. More than 500 people were put out of work and patients across northern Berkshire County wondered where they would get medical care.

The Northern Berkshire Healthcare’s Attorney Daniel Cohn told 22News a Chapter 7 filing was the best option the company had, considering their financial situation.

The filing also covers the Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice of Northern Berkshire, Inc. and Northern Berkshire Healthcare Physicians Group, Inc.

Northern Berkshire is the parent company to the North Adams Regional Hospital that closed suddenly.

A Chapter 7 filing means the hospital now has a court-appointed trustee who will oversee the liquidation and sale of the hospital assets.

Cohn told 22News if the company didn’t file for bankruptcy, there could’ve been a “series of bad alternatives. “One of them would’ve been to try to lay off staff to keep going, but nobody wants a facility that offers substandard health care.”

Northern Berkshire had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in 2011. 22News talked to a local bankruptcy attorney who said it’s fairly common for a company to try to reorganize and try to stay open first, before filing for Chapter 7.

According to Attorney Justin Dion, a Law Professor at Bay Path College, “What that really means is that the business is done. They’ve closed the doors and are not able to get the business reopen because of financial pressures they are facing.”

In the meantime, Berkshire Medical Center will continue to work on reopening the Emergency Department.

Cohn said this doesn’t necessarily mean that Berkshire Medical will be the buyer for the hospital, but he did acknowledge that they were the first one to jump in to try to bring back the emergency services.

Gov. Deval Patrick, who met with lawmakers from the region, said officials are working with Berkshire Medical Center to reopen the emergency room, the Visiting Nurses Association program and hospice services.

Below is a statement from Attorney General Martha Coakley:

“Today’s surprise bankruptcy filing by Northern Berkshire Healthcare and the North Adams Regional Hospital Board does not change our goal of ensuring access to safe emergency services for area residents. We are disappointed the board does not appear to share this same goal. We are pleased that the court extended its order through Tuesday and we will continue to work with all stakeholders with the purpose of reopening an emergency room in North Adams as soon as possible.”

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