North Adams emergency center may open soon

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Emergency room services could return to North Adams in less than a month’s time.

The 22News I-Team was at a bankruptcy hearing at U.S. District Court in Springfield on Thursday morning. More than 30 nurses were at the courthouse, trying to find out when they may get their jobs back.

The ER at North Adams Regional Hospital has been closed for nearly a month. People in Northern Berkshire County have had to drive to hospitals in Pittsfield or Vermont to get any emergency service for the past month.

Members of both sides (the nurses’ union, the Attorney General’s Office, and Berkshire Medical Center on one side, and creditors for North Adams Regional Hospital on the other) agreed that things are going well, which means that an emergency center could open in North Adams in a few weeks.

The two sides will be back in court on Wednesday to potentially finalize their agreement. If all goes well in that hearing and in the inspection process, the center could open on May 19.

“They had an agreement before they got in here, so they actually are talking, it looks promising”, said Cindy Deblois, who has worked at the hospital for 39 years.

Nurse Jennifer Dowling told 22News they are looking forward to having the ER open again.

“We want to get it back. I understand that it takes time to get these things pushed through and all, everyone is anxious to get it going, but as long as it gets going, that’s the best part,” Dowling said.

The state has already given its approval for Berkshire Medical Center to operate a satellite emergency center in North Adams, though federal approval has been needed as well.

Berkshire Medical Center has also reached an agreement to buy the North Adams Regional Hospital.

The bankruptcy court still has to approve this and an auction may have to be held if there are other bidders. Any deal to buy the hospital likely won’t be official until June. If Berkshire Medical Center buys the hospital, it will need to invest at least $10 million for repairs and improvements.

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