Gov. Patrick announces plans for urgent care center in N. Adams

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. (WWLP) – A small step was taken Friday night toward restoring access to health care for people in North Adams.

The North Adams Regional Hospital closed about a month ago, leaving people in northern Berkshire County without any easy access to emergency services.

Now, an interim urgent care center may be opening soon, and the process to get the Emergency Room back is moving forward.

It’s not a done deal yet. “Somebody switched off the lights a few weeks ago, how come we can’t just go back in and switch them back on? It doesn’t work like that,” Gov. Patrick said.

However, there is a sign of progress. The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams will make its health center available to residents.

The plan right now is to keep the Wellness Center open 12 hours a day, and the school’s also considering weekend hours.

MCLA President Mary Grant said, “For us it’s going to be providing a space really and using the resources we have here to support the community; its non-life threatening, and non-emergency. It’s not a replace for the Emergency Department. It’s a step along the road.”

Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield has agreed to buy the hospital property and spend $10 million for renovations.

BMC has the state approval, but is now waiting on federal inspection and review, to reopen the North Adams Emergency Room. Governor Patrick called it a complicated, but expedited process.

Gov. Patrick said, “The reopening of the ED in what will be 5 or 6 weeks, in a scheme of things, it’s lightning, lightning fast.”

The license transfer process, so Berkshire Medical Center can operate the Emergency Department in northern Berkshire County, is expected to be completed mid- to late-May.

Watch the video above to see the entire news conference with Gov. Patrick.

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